POWER When most people think of “power” they think immediately of the misuse of power. How many police supervisors and those at the management level use their power solely to benefit themselves? One of the best definitions I have heard for power is: the potential to influence the activities of an individual or group toward accomplishing a mission, task or goal. Power should be utilized by police leaders as a positive force. Generally speaking, power comes in two types and from seven sources. The discussion of power can be a short statement (don’t abuse it) or it can be an eight-hour seminar. Hopefully, although short, the following information relative to power will peak your interest. The two types of power are positional power and personal power. Position power comes from the agency and will be related to your rank or position (officer in charge, commanding officer, etc.). Personal power is given to a leader based on the willingness of others to be influenced. Obviously, personal power is much tougher to obtain and easy to loose. All of the sources of power can be used in a positive manner. The only source with some negativity to it is coercive power. This is the power used when all the positive attempts fail and then is used to gain positive results. Other sources of power include: information (the leader’s knowledge and ability to gather information); reward (such as extra time off, special assignments); legitimate (rank is to take care of people and not to gather privileges); referent (based on personal traits of the leader and respect for him/her); connection (the people you know) and expert (the expertise you have developed in a particular area). Power can be studied as an independent topic or in conjunction with Situational Leadership. Either way, it should reviewed, analyzed and utilized by police leaders. Take care of your people and use your power in a positive manner.