Difference Between Power and Leadership (With Table)

An ordinary person can influence, grow, and help others without essentially being the team’s coach. Similarly, it is feasible to wield power without being in such a position of authority in many settings.

People with power have the ability to control the action of others but leaders have the power to influence. It is important to determine their difference to understand their legitimacy.

Power vs Leadership

The main difference between power and leadership is that power is the ability to control others’ actions meanwhile leadership is the ability to influence others’ actions. Power comes from a place of control, while leadership comes from an individual’s nature.

Power is widely described as an individual’s capacity to exert a certain type of control over another human. Power comes from an authority position, and it is classified into legitimate, coercive, and expert power. Individuals frequently utilize power for their own selfish enrichment, as the expression goes, ‘Power Corrupts.’

Leadership entails developing a vision, persuading others to strive toward that aspiration, and forming a team. In order to influence people, a leader must be believable. Power is required for effective leadership. To properly inspire followers, all leaders must wield some type of the influence.

Comparison Table Between Power and Leadership

Parameters of Comparison




The capacity of a person to exert some type of influence over another person

Capacity to persuade others to do what you want them to do without using force.


Not a necessity to be in power

It is needed to be in a leadership


Comes from the stance of authority

It is a human characteristic.


Coercive, legitimate, referent

Autocratic, democratic, transformational, monarchical


Power does not rely on leadership

To be successful, leadership necessitates power.

What is Power?

Power is widely described as an individual’s capacity to exert some type of influence over another human. Power and influence have a separate connection. It is a causal efficacy that can be a visible change in economic or an emotional strain that drives humans to pick a specific choice over another.

As a child, your family had a strong impact on your activities, and you would frequently strive to replicate their favored behavior in order to please them. The same is true at school, where teachers may readily persuade you to do one thing over another. In both of these circumstances, your parents and instructors have acquired authority that allows them to exert influence over you.

Furthermore, there are alternative sources of power that may be used. The capacity to award followers or provide some type of benefit is referred to as reward power. While coercive power stems from the ability to impose penalties or sanctions.

Few instances of different kinds of power are legitimate power which is obtained by a role of official status in an organization or through a vote. Referent power which is entirely dependent on those who follow. Lastly, integrated power is gained from one’s capacity to bring others together.

Power is vital in the political arena. There have been cases where novices have inherited enormous authority as they were born as the child or grandchild member of a constitutional monarch. Army leaders have also been able to seize control of administrations by force or by attempting a coup. 

What is Leadership?

The phrase ‘leadership’ conjures up a variety of images, such as a political figure, an adventurer directing a group of people through a jungle, or an executive inside a firm.

A leader is a successful individual who sets a vision, encourages others to work toward that vision, educates and forms the team that will spearhead the fulfillment of the aspiration, and oversees the vision’s final delivery.

Leadership in contrast frequently is formally bestowed by an organization. Leadership is also a set of behaviors that lead to effective organizations. Theories and practices can help leaders ensure success for the development of employees. Best practices draw on research and studies completed in the fields of psychology and others.

There are several styles of leadership, just as there are various sorts of power. There are twelve varieties in all, while 5 of them are the most common that we see in our day-to-day life.

Some of the types of leadership are autocratic leadership that is characterized by the leader’s complete accountability and ownership over his or her subordinates. Democratic leadership, which entails including employees in decision-making. and finally, transformational leaders are the style of leadership that is focused on starting some sort of reform.

With each degree of advancement or position, every leader gains a proportionate amount of inherent authority. The capacity to generate devoted followers is a characteristic shared by all excellent leaders.

Main Differences Between Power and Leadership

  1. Power is defined as the ability to exercise control over others and leadership is defined as the ability to inspire others without coercion.
  2. People in power need not to always be credible but leaders need to be credible.
  3. A stance of authority confers power, whereas leadership is a human trait.
  4. Power can be coercive, legitimate, or referent, while leadership can be autocratic, democratic, transformative, or dynastic.
  5. Power is not dependent on leadership, but effective leadership need power.


Power and leadership are inextricably related ideas. Power is defined as the capacity to influence people. Leaders utilize power to achieve collective goals and understanding how power works in an organization improves your ability to be a successful leader. A good leader can be characterized in a variety of ways.

The lines that separate the concepts of power and leadership are frequently determined by the sort of power utilized in conjunction with various leadership styles. Most leadership and management positions include some form of power. The main idea is to detect it and utilize the appropriate combination without jeopardizing the purpose or intended goal.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1990-15948-001
  2. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/14777260410570009/full/html