Power

I am new to the field of Project Management and have heard of the all mighty Project Manager. Teams will consist of engineers and business professionals. In many cases you’ll have highly skilled engineers that are being led by a Project Manger who perhaps is less technical.  This can lead to a frustrating situation when someone feels like they are being lead by someone who does not have the expertise they do.  In these situations it is important to recognize that everyone is on the same team and that a variety of expertise are needed to complete a team.  The Project Manager is specialized in overlooking the project as a whole and therefore may have  power over the team.

A good project manager realizes that the best workers are ones willing to do the work not ones that have been forced into submission.  There are several types of power a Project Manager can use to  influence the team.

Expert power-  The Project Manager can take the training necessary to become an expert on the product or project they manage.  Become the go to person, know the answer or know where to find it.

Reward Power- The Project Manager can reward team members with status or recognition or by simply allowing team members to do the tasks they enjoy.  The key here is to give team members what they desire so you can ask them to do something in return.  Reward power may also work in the reverse by withholding a reward if the people do not comply.

Legitimate Power-  Power that is given to the Project Manager from a higher authority, formal authority.  When a team member is hired on they also accept who is in charge according to senior management.

Representative Power- The group voluntarily elects who to follow which may not always be the Project Manager.   The Project Manager needs to get to know the team members and build trust.

Coercive Power-  The project manager has the ability to inflict punishment on group if tasks are not completed.  The team finds the punishment to be worse than performing the task itself.  Always use this power as a last resort.

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