Five main types of power in project management
Five main types of power in project management

Role of power in project management provides the ability to influence key players on a project in the decision-making process improtatnt to achieve a desired goal.Role of power in project management is to provide basis for getting what one wants. Project managers need to have power and understand the five main types of power in project management, in order to influence the team members on the project and can sometimes feel powerless without these powers, which includes power of promotion, reward systems, hiring and firing.

Read: Why project leader is higher than project manager

Role of power in project management provides origin for the main types of power in project management and why they are very important for every manager to have for the sucess of the project follwoing types of power in project management.

Power in project management

Power in project management is defined as the ability and authority to influence project key players in the process of decision-making to achieve a desired project goal or deliverables. In other words, Power in project management, provides a basis for getting what one wants in this case a project manager would want to archive project deliverables such as finishing on time, ensuring workers report for work and performance maintaned by following the project scope.

What are the five main types of power in project management?

Here’s 5 types of power you can use as a project manager

  1. Reward power: This type of power ensures targeted persons who have complied with the manager in following instructions receive rewards. A reward can be a form of salary increament, promotion, or holiday get away and sometimes even a gift in form of car.
  2. Coercive power: The targeted persons working on a project comply in order to avoid punishments
  3. Legitimate power: The targeted persons believe that they are obligated to obey the leader or manager of the project
  4. Expert power: The targeted persons comply believing that project manager has special knowledge for leading them and mostly look up to them for motivation and direction
  5. Referent power: The targeted persons comply to gain project manager’s approval who has granted them power and authority to do certain tasks.

What type of power does a project manager have?

Project managers have five main types of power in project management, which are legitmate power, reward power, expert power, coercive porwer, and referent power. Punishment powers are examples of coercive and legitmate power because managers get things done just by been a project manager. The position of the project manager been in charge comes with these forms of power. Expert and referent powers are examples of personal power in project management.

What is the best power of project manager?

The best form of power for project managers depends upon the situation, type of project and the maturity level or qualification of the project manager. Best power of project manager are personal powers, which consists of Expert and Referent powers, these are better than positional powers, namely Legitimate and Reward power.

Leadership styles in project management

Despite having powers working as a project manager, there is great need for also having leadership styles in project management. To achieve the best results as project managers in more situations when dealing with people, project managers should lean more to be in charge and taking the role of visionary and participative leadership form of management styles.

Common styles of leadership in project management

  • Authoritarian Leadership.
  • Participative Leadership.
  • Delegative Leadership.
  • Transactional Leadership.
  • Transformational Leadership.

How is leadership important to project management and for five main types of power in project management. Leaders Motivate and Inspire this is why its very mportant in project management. We have already discussed as to why the Leadership role is higher than that of Managers, but in their focus on implementing processes, these two key roles are important for every project if its to succeed or fail.

Leaders help to control their people and the improvement of working environment, including providing their work assignments, salaries, schedules, and working on time by measuring the project deliverables, etc. Project managers continuously develop important leadership skills for communication, risk mamanement, planning, monitoring evaluation and in motivating and inspiring of project teams.


  • Formal power in project management is the type of power based on the position a project manager poses and holds.
  • Expert power in project management is the power that is derived from the experience one has and commands people.
  • Coercive power in project management is the form of power one poses to get things done by using punishment or threats to get the things done
  • Legitmate power comes from the postion one holds, by virual of been appointed project manager one automatically poses this form of power
  • Referent power is given by superior managers to people in order to command other workers to the needed tasks and resposnsibilities.
  • 5 types of power you can use as a project manager shenoy are coercive, legitmate, expert, referent, and reward power.
  • Ingratiating power and politics in project management has to do with the power project managers are given or derive from political influence. This power gives them a right to perform certain activities in the name of the ministry, which the project represents. For example health projects mostly are funded by health ministries and the government, therefore project managers in charge of those projects work for that ministry or project sponsor after studying project Management course.
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