Powerbase of a Leader

Powerbase of a Leader


Bookshelf with marketing knowledge and skills.

Improve your Leadership skills.
In this article I focus on your Powerbase as a leader and give insights into the effect of the gaps we have and suggestions on how to fill them.

All leaders have a powerbase, here I have suggested our powerbase has four elements. If we accept this we can measure ourselves against them, discover what is missing and work to fill the gaps through learning the missing element or by making sure someone in our team has the missing piece.

Whilst the elements may be subjective, the point I want to make is that non of us are perfect and we probably have gaps in the skills or characteristics required to achieve the challenges we face. Accepting we have gaps shows we are half way to filling them. See how you do or put names of those you have come across who fit the shortcomings and have not accepted the fact so not done anything about it.

This applies to leaders at all levels of the organization.
The Complete Set



Having the position from which you can lead may seem obvious but there are certain circumstances, which take the position away from the leader such as shareholder intervention. It could also be the case that you are trying to lead in a circumstance where you consider the “real ” boss is inadequate.


Having the right knowledge base from which you lead could include Specialist, technical or General management.


The ability to have the message you want to give received. Takes into account the need to listen and to he able to translate the message in a way that is appropriate different audiences.


‘Presence’, a personality that cannot be ignored; an ability to draw others together.

This type of leader has:

  • the position to facilitate action
  • sufficient knowledge (either directly or around them) of the subject to know how to achieve the goals
  • the ability to communicateclearly what is needed
  • the charisma– the magnetism to pull people together for a common cause.

However, given that few of us are this perfect, it is worth considering the impact of not having the complete set and how you may still be able to achieve your goals.

What happens when you are Missing being in the key position.

Without Position

Powerbase of a Leader minus Position

With                           charisma, communication, and knowledge:
Without                     position

This combination can be dangerous.

An organization which is unable to provide this person with the Leader position that is needed, which must be deserved, risks, in the long term, that person using the power they do have in negative ways.

Someone in this situation may use their knowledge base to convince those below, or even at the same level or higher, that they know better than those in power.

You can imagine that, when you take into account their good communication skills and charisma, you have a potentially powerful cocktail for unrest.

Without Charisma

Powerbase of a Leader minus Charisma

With                           position, communication knowledge:

Without                     charisma

Here is a person with knowledge of the subject, issue or company, who is good at communicating what they want to achieve and in a position to do something about it. However, their lack of charisma means that they are not perceived as dynamic, or passionate.

What can happen with this type of leader is that the best  plan, put forward using total knowledge and communicated clearly from a position of strength, does not inspire the level of commitment it deserves because the followers are not excited by it -they are not hooked into it, they have not bought into the concept.

Without Communication

Powerbase of a Leader minus Communicatiom

With                           position, charisma, knowledge:

Without                     communication

This is an immensely frustrating combination. Here is someone technically qualified, passionate about what they want to achieve, in a position to do so but unable to translate that into language which followers can understand. This can lead to lack of focus and fragmented implementation because of differing interpretations of what is wanted.

Without Knowledge

Powerbase of a Leader minus Knowledge

With                           position, charisma, communication

Without                     knowledge

This is an extremely interesting combination. Here we have someone with a position from which they can act, communication skill to translate desired actions to others effectively and charisma to create excitement and hunger for winning in their followers. But they lack knowledge about thesubject or issue. The result can be catastrophic. You are being led from the front by a strongly charismatic communicator, but you are being led in the wrong direction.

Filling Powerbase Gaps

The good news is that any of the gaps described earlier can be filled by following the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Agree the gap

Get the person involved to realize and agree that a gap exists. Have them do a personality profile, which is a helpful tool. Completing a personality questionnaire may help demonstrate the gap.Step 2: Discuss the gap and its impact

Point out that most people have gaps of one sort or another and that recognizing its existence is halfway to filling it. You have a problem only if you are unaware of it.

Discuss the impact of the gap on all the relationships in which that person is involved. Give examples of problems which are caused as a result of the gap.

Ask the individual concerned to draw up an action plan to deal with the gap. You can then agree and monitor the plan.

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