Sources of Power April 1st, 2011

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

All sources of Power yield Influence. Informal Leaders cannot rely on authority or the potential for coercion enjoyed by managers. Informal leaders therefore have to depend on their Power to get things done. What are their sources of Power? Boleman and Deal in their book Reframing Organizations have summarized the key sources of power within groups and organizations:

  • Position power where the position confers certain levels of formal authority.
  • Information and expertise power flows for those with information, competence, and know-how.
  • Control of rewards power refers to the ability to deliver rewards, such as, jobs, money or political support.
  • Coercive power rests on the ability to constrain, block, interfere, or punish.
  • Alliances and networks are utilized to get things done in organizations through complex networks, individuals, or groups.
  • Gatekeeper power involves controlling access to key individuals, decision arenas or agendas.
  • Framing control of meaning and symbols refers to establishing the context within which issues will be viewed and decided.
  • Personal power is earned or given to individuals with charisma, energy, political skills, or the capacity to articulate a vision regardless of their formal or informal authority or position.

Power depends on relationships and can be increased or lost as a result of the way it is used or misused. Informal leaders have learned how to their power and influence to enhance their teams or group effectiveness to get results.

Have you experience Informal Leaders building and exercising Power? How did they acquire it?

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Can you have Influence without Power? March 23rd, 2011

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

To understand the nature of leadership requires an understanding of the essence of power, for leadership is a special form of power. Power is the underlying force of all social exchange. Reflect on your current business and personal relationships. How does the implicit or explicit use of Power impact them?

In his latest book called Power, Jeffrey Pfeffer states that power is part of leadership and it is necessary to get things done. Informal leaders get things done primarily through power and influence. However, they have no formal position or authority that gives them that power. They earn their power.

Have you observed people in your community who have lots of power without any formal authority? How did they acquire it?

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The Power of Influence February 1st, 2011

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

The Power of Influence

Influence emerged as the top skill in defining Leadership. Informal Leaders lead from a base of influence. This is primarily because they do not have any formal authority to enforce and/or direct others to get things done.

In my book, The Hidden Power of Informal Leadership I discussed in detail how Informal Leaders use influence.   Their sphere of Influence extends up, down and across groups and organizations. They have the ability to bring people together without the authority of an organizational chart or reporting structure behind them.

Are you a person of Influence?   How would YOU define Influence? Join is in a very interactive group discussion on the definition of Influence at . We want to hear your expert perspective.



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Define Leadership in 1 Word December 6th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

If you had to define ‘Leadership’ in 1 word, what would it be? The Results are in!

I posted this question to the Informal Leadership Group on LinkedIn which currently has over 4700 members – . The responses have been analyzed and the data tabulated. Thanks to the hundreds of you who participated.

I want to give special thanks to Informal Leadership Group member Mitch Owen of Mitchen, Inc. for analyzing and creating such a clear, easy to read graphic. Mitch we appreciate your leadership initiative.

To see the results click here then click on the file RESULTS ARE IN under the PDF section:

What do the high ranking words mean to you as a leader?   Is it the same for both  Formal and Informal Leadership? Share your comments in the section below.

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Teens as Informal Leaders December 6th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

There are individuals in every group called informal leaders who succeed in making things happen, getting things done, and mobilizing the people around them to act, even though they have not been officially designated as leaders.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak on Informal Leadership to a group of high-school seniors. What a joyful, unique learning experience! It was their Leadership class and they had been studying Servant Leadership- . Informal Leaders tend to have a strong Ethic of Care and Being of Service is one of their core values. These students quickly grasped the concept of Informal Leadership and their hands kept going up to share experiences of being an Informal Leader.

There were also stories of being negative Informal Leaders, especially at summer camp! OK, I would not go into details, but some were very funny! They were also good examples of the use of negative power and influence by an informal leader to get things done. .

How have you seen Informal Leaders being Servant Leaders? Share your comments in the section below.

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Get into Action with NaNoWriMo! November 4th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

My book is now published!  Yeah!!! Now the work really begins J))

I recently participated in a Book Extravaganza and was blown away by the vast amount of people who wanted to write! I am not referring to those of us who are authors, but to the huge number of people who visited my booth and shared their intense desire to write.

The conversation usually began with “I wish I could do what you did…” I met with a lot of people who had stories to tell, poems to share and facts to articulate. As an author, I was very inspired by the deep level of passion I saw as they shared their dreams with me.

So what’s the hold up? “I don’t have the time.” I am too busy.” “Too many things going on.”  “I do not have the money.” Those were the majority of the responses. Do you fall into this category? Then you must look into National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo! There are forums, a young writers section and there’s even an upcoming write-a-thon!  Check out the website at It is a fun way to get into action and begin writing.

Have you dealt with similar situations? How did you overcome them? What helped? Share your comments in the section below.

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The Hidden Power of Informal Leadership October 20th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

Here is a quick video about my new book, The Hidden Power of Informal Leadership.  In a world where the definition of leadership is constantly changing understanding how informal leaders affect an organization is vital to it’s success.  Watch this quick video then head over to Xulon Press to pick up your copy.

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SPEAK Like a Leader September 22nd, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

Have you ever wanted to speak with confidence and to present information clearly and powerfully? Do you want to let yourself shine through what you say? Do you want to speak like a leader? Then read on.

One of the most powerful tools of Informal Leaders is their communication style. They always speak to influence. Giving a speech is an opportunity for you to educate and inform, to get an audience to see their world differently. It’s your chance to influence the way they think, change their way of seeing things, and inspire them to act. That’s what a leader does. This is what many Informal Leaders have mastered! The process of giving a speech can be broken down into a three stages: Before, During and After.


The Who: Knowing who you’re talking to – your audience – is as important as knowing what you’re talking about (your topic). It affects how you shape and present your information.

The What: What is the event? Is it a keynote address, introducing a speaker, or presenting about your business?

The When: What is the full event schedule and the time of your speech? Who speaks before and after you?

The Where: Where is the event being held, and what is the physical lay-out of the room?

The Why: What is the purpose of the meeting? What are your topic objective and the message you want to communicate? Why are they relevant to the audience?


Speak with confidence. Deliver your message loud and clear, use the fewest words with the fewest syllables, and maintain eye contact with your listeners. Speak for the benefit of others. Serve your audience well by keeping their interests foremost in your mind. This is the golden rule of speaking. Nothing communicates more clearly than intention Listen and Pay Attention. Constantly observe if your audience is following you. Speak every word into the eyes and heart of one other person.


Be Open and Available. Have contact or follow-up information ready to hand out; smile and be ready to listen to questions and comments. Important Note: Acknowledge any feedback whether you agree or disagree. Getting feedback means that your audience listened and was influenced by what you said. Honor that and the courage it took for them to approach you.

Informal Leaders always speak to influence. Do you speak to influence? Successfully managing the Before, During and After stages allows you to take responsibility for the entire event. Taking charge of the process sets the stage for your success to deliver a great speech and to SPEAK like a Leader.

What is your number one fear as a speaker?

What are some ways you can use this process to assist you to overcome that fear?

Share your comments in the section below!

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The Hidden Power of Informal Leadership August 19th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.
From the book: Informal Leadership: What you need to know to Identify Hidden Leaders, Build Trust,
Inspire Action and Get Results, by Marcia Smart, Ph.D.

With many Fortune 1000 companies restructuring and downsizing, as well as ongoing economic setbacks facing state and local governments, formal leaders and anagers are desperately looking for innovative ways to maximize their resources. The first decade of the Twenty-First Century has brought challenging economic times, resulting in heavy workforce reductions, budget cutbacks and decreased levels of middle management. Despite this managers are being forced to maintain or exceed results. In short: They have to do more with less. Are you desperately asking: “What else is out there? How can I increase production with what I currently have? How much more can I squeeze from my people? What else can I do – right now?”

If you are asking yourself these questions, then the time is right. This book is for you. Leaders and managers are absolutely ready for the shortest, most effective route to mobilize their people and deliver outstanding results. You are sitting on a hidden gold mine of talent and skills, and it is imperative you be informed and educated about this source of human capital that currently exists within your reach.

Whether you are looking for creative ways to improve your team’s performance, or you need to work harder, smarter, or produce more with the same or fewer resources, this book will appeal to you. It will help you realize there is a huge source of untapped potential within your group. It will help awaken an excitement about another side of your organization you suspect exists, but have not had the inside knowledge to identify and use effectively. Do you have an open management style and:

-Want to continue to increase the performance of your team, but these days budget restrictions make it very tough to do?

-Are eager to learn about something that may make you more successful?

-Desire to work more effectively and efficiently to get things done and stay ahead of the game?

-Dislike being blindsided and wish you had a better handle on what the people on the team were really up to?

-Want to do the right thing, make positive, high-impact changes, and increase business results on your own watch?

Then I invite you to read on. I have always been fascinated by the company behind the formal organizational charts—the people who really get the jobs done in organizations. My interest in what goes on in the subculture of groups and organizations has led me to study the field of informal leadership extensively. A veteran of leadership and business development, I have been in the trenches as an informal leader working inside the informal organization, successfully creating informal and employee networks. I have experienced both sides of the fence—the challenges, hardships and celebrations that are associated with these roles.

This book is designed to generate awareness of and provide detailed information on how leaders and managers can tap into a hidden resource called informal leaders. They are a valuable asset that can be harnessed to improve productivity. This book will reveal that outside the boundaries of formal authority is a phenomenon wherein leadership is driven by a network of people who get things done—primarily through power and influence. Typically, about 80 to 90 percent of an organization is non-management, and there are individuals within this large group who have the power and influence to impact the bottom line. This book will clearly identify who these informal leaders are, and define the variety of ways they make themselves known within an organization.

Although informal leadership has been recognized within organizational development and structure, there is limited information available on the topic beyond references to informal leadership in groups and work team environments. Increasingly, informal leaders are taking on the role of transformational leadership, which was previously held by formal leaders. Transformational leaders:

-See themselves as change agents

-Are prudent risk takers

-Believe in people

-Display sensitivity to others’ needs

-Are open to learning from experience

-Use their intuition to develop a sense of vision, and

-Are able to exercise disciplined reasoning.

You were inspired to pick this up for a reason. Perhaps your group or organization is growing and delivering results, and you know there are many things going on behind the scenes, but you are curious as to how these things are getting done. Or, maybe your organization is downsizing again and you are wondering how you will deliver your goals and objectives with less staff. Or, the morale of your team is low. They are not opening up to you, and are delivering just enough work to meet expectations. Whatever your environment and reason, I want to let you know you have an untapped asset hidden in your organization that can greatly assist you to be more successful. They are the Informal Leaders—untapped human capital—and they want to partner with you.

As you read this book you may find some things that have always lurked in the background suddenly come into focus. You may experience lot of “ah-hah” and “Yes!” moments. I invite you to note those moments and record the ideas generated from them. They will feel exciting and give you a fresh and more empowering perspective of your organization. You will probably be inspired and be filled with a sense of urgency to identify your informal leaders. Please refrain from doing so now… it is critical you understand informal leaders at a more personal level. There are reasons why they are so successful and certain circumstances that allow them to do what they do. It is important to understand these reasons.

In the following pages, you will be given insights that will arm you to better manage and leverage the contributions informal leaders bring to your organizations. By the way, it must be said that one of the biggest fears of informal leaders is to be formally recognized as an informal leader in front of their peers and informal network. The reasons for this will be explained later, but this is a critical piece of information you need to know right now.

Welcome to the World of Informal Leadership. Enjoy the Journey.

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Self-Publishing: You are the CEO! July 26th, 2010

Marcia Smart Ph.D.

What a journey! These past few weeks I have been doing a lot of research on Print on Demand (POD) publishing. There are a lot of companies and package options to choose from. Without a doubt, what made the choice of publisher easier for me was the book The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine at It is a must read. I highly recommend checking it out before choosing your self-publishing company.

At the end of my research I was surrounded by so much rich information that I had to let it all go for a bit and step back. What a life changing decision that was! The day after while having my morning cup of tea, it hit me- Publishing my book is a business and I am the CEO! It requires my personal investment of financial, social, physical, emotional, and most of all intellectual capital. I am the executive leader and business manager. This is all about leadership and my personal leadership journey.

Lots of thoughts tumbled out of my mind: What is my vision for the book? Is this short-term-just publishing a book and that’s it or long-term-seeing successive books in the future? Am I expecting a return on investment? Am I prepared to accept the accountability, responsibility and ownership? What resources do I need to have in place to make it through the challenges ahead?  And on and on….

Huh! Choosing the publisher is the easy part!

How do you feel about being the CEO? What do you think you need to know to self-publish your book? Share your comments in the section below.

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