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Distinguish Between Power, Authority and Leadership

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Power, authority and leadership are three difficult-to-separate concepts in Government or Political Science.

This brief post is to give you a clear difference between power, authority and leadership.


Power refers to the ability to coerce or force someone to do something.


Authority refers to the right to exercise power.

Authority is the legal or moral right to control, rule or exercise power over a group.

Legitimate authority is, therefore, the authority that has a legal or moral basis. Legitimate authority is derived from the mandate of the followers.


Leadership refers to the act of guiding or influencing a group of people to cooperate toward the achievement of a goal or goals.

A leader is, therefore, someone who has the power and authority to guide or influence others toward the achievement of a goal.

Through the exercise of power and authority, a leader influences and provides direction for the group he/she is leading.



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