Leadership Series (4) Where Leader’s Derives Power From? By Victor A. Imhangbe

Power is a force of influence and authority. Most leaders wield power, but how power is manifested and used often differs between leaders. Where is the source of power to leaders? Is power acquire by leaders or bestow upon them by followers? Is it divine, hereditary or acquired through force? The five conventional sources of a leader’s power come from distinctly different sources such as; Expert Power, Positional Power, Reward Power, Coercive Power, Personal Power. However and for the purpose of this text, I will deviate from the conventional to identified three main source a leader derive power which are; Spiritual power, Political power and Economic power.


I am not one of those who are carried away by science discovery to think and believed the world came into existence through evolution. However I am not against scientific invention for the creator of the universe has given man the power of knowledge which includes scientific discovery. Spiritual leadership is ordained men and women of God with special mandate to lead His people. In the secular world they are known for different names such as; Pope, Apostle, Bishop, Pastors, Prophets and Prophetess by the Christians. We have Grand Imam or Grand Mufti, Caliph, Alim, Allamah for the Muslims; we have Sami for Hinduism, and Buddha heads leads the Buddhist, even those we choose to called the unbelievers or the traditional worshipers have their chief priests as their leader.

It does not matter the religion affiliation ones belong to; but there are unique characteristics associated with spiritual leadership whose power and authority is derives from God. These features include:

  1. The spiritual leader’s task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be. This is influence. Once spiritual leaders understand God’s will, they make every effort to move their followers from following their own agendas to pursuing God’s purposes. People who fail to move people to God’s agenda have not led. They may have exhorted, cajoled, pleaded, or bullied, but they will not have led until their people have adjusted their lives to God’s will.
  2. Spiritual leaders depend on God’s invisible power known to Christians as the Holy Spirit. Spiritual leaders work within a paradox, for God calls them to do something that, in fact, only God can do. Ultimately, spiritual leaders cannot produce spiritual change in people; only the Holy Spirit can accomplish this. Yet the Spirit often uses people to bring about spiritual growth in others.
  3. Spiritual leaders are accountable to God. Spiritual leadership necessitates an acute sense of accountability. Just as a teacher has not taught until students have learned, leaders don’t blame their followers when they don’t do what they should do. Leaders don’t make excuses. They assume their responsibility is to move people to do God’s will.
  4. Spiritual leaders can influence all people, not just God’s people. God’s agenda applies to the marketplace as well as the meeting place. Although spiritual leaders will generally move God’s people to achieve God’s purposes, God can use them to exert significant godly influence upon unbelievers.
  5. Spiritual leaders work from God’s agenda. The greatest obstacle to effective spiritual leadership is people pursuing their own agendas rather than seeking God’s will.

Due to the enormous responsibilities and the special leadership roles that are divinely given to spiritual leadership, care must be taking to ensure such power and authority are not abused.

Unfortunately in practice, while the followers reverend the spiritual leader due to the divine authority bestowed on them; they have turned around to play God themselves by taking advantage of the led who are mostly naïve and gullible. The men of God as is popularly call have mortgage their conscience at the detriment of their spiritual calling to trample upon the poor and the very helpless in the society today for self agrandisement.

You can solicit for vote from the masses and promise them heaven on earth and by the time you are finally voted in the anointed men and women of God will turn blind eyes to your brazen looting of public treasury. I was dumbfounded while reading online news when I saw an Anglican Bishop in Niger Delta region of Nigeria praising an ex-Governor; who is serving jail terms in United Kingdom for money laundry and theft. According to the shameless man of God; Rt. Reverend Cyril Odutemu from the Anglican Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, he opine; “If every politician in Delta State stole like Ibori, Delta State would have been better off than its current position” This is a supposed mouth piece of God praising a man whose act of greed has impoverish millions of his people and sent many to their early graves. To this man of the pulpit with large followers, leadership position as far as he is concern is to steal enough to enrich the men of God then everything will be tag as perfect.

In another interview, a Muslim cleric; Sheikh Gumi strongly criticised current Nigeria President  war against corrupt and end up given very weak excuses and strategy to follow. Expectedly, he finally open up of his inability to get the attention of the so called “rich men” to donate as usual in his fund raising event he organised, because big men were scare that government will ask them the source of their wealth. The bottomline is; if you are doing a legitimate business, you won’t entertain any fear in spending your hard earned money, unless it is stolen from the people and that is what government is against. Is taking side with the dubious against the hapless poor the true meaning of leadership?


The next in hierarchy after spiritual leadership of all domains of power on earth is the political power. But lamentably, political power is the only power people are ill-prepared for in many nations of the world. You don’t just call anyone to examine your health but a certified medical doctor when you are sick. You don’t hire someone who is highly erudite and loquacious when you run afoul of the law, but a licensed, good and successful lawyer. On and on, we look for the best, the successful, the distinguished and those with track record to handle our professional activities, but when we are looking for the person that will decide who gets what, when and how in human affairs, there are no qualifications.

This is sad and that is why most nations on earth are messed up, crassly mismanaged and idiots occupy political offices. As opines by Dr. Moshood Fayemiwo; in one of his article, he mentioned how “a highly distinguished American  engaged him in a conversation over his native Nigeria few years ago in Washington D.C and he asked: “How and why were the likes of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Sani Abacha and the rest military thugs, buffoons and gangsters were able to rule your nation in the midst of fertile minds like Bala Usman, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and the rest intellectual minds your country is endowed?” He answered that precisely the same ailment that afflicts his native land, Nigeria is also present even in his adopted United States and virtually all nations of the world; that is, there is no requirement to occupy public office. He explained further that soldiers in Third World nations used guns in those days of jackboot rule while politicians in America and the so-called advanced Western nations use “”elections,” but the two are not requirements and qualifications, but mere processes. That was why America was able to produce the like of a crook such as Mr. Richard Nixon while Nigeria ended up producing a murderer like Ibrahim Badamsi Babangida and a psychopath like Sani Abacha. Moshood Ademola Fayemiwo. (2016).

A vivid example of political leadership failure is the recent global leak of Offshore Financial Records which has exposes multi-dimension hypocritical altitude of double standard of known political figures in Crime and Corruption. Heads of states that openly condemn tax havens were involved in the criminal’s scandals, but they are careless in getting involved in secrets.


Economic power can be broadly defined as the ability to control or influence the behavior of others through the deliberate and politically motivated use of economic assets. National economic power implies that a government is in a position to use, offer, or withhold such assets even when they are in private hands (for example, by mandating trade embargoes or imposing controls on exports to targeted countries). In fact, the exercise of economic power may well have economic costs because almost by definition it entails interfering with decisions made for economic reasons.

Whether in a sovereign states or on individual level, those that possess economic powers automatically gain some influence over the rest countries or people. In world politics there is constant mentioned of Group of Seven (G7). (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union is also represented within the G7. These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund. According to Wikipedia, the G7 countries represent more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion), and this made them to wide huge economic influence over less develop or third world countries.

What is economic power? It is the power to produce and to trade what one has produced. In a free economy, where no man or group of men can use physical coercion against anyone, economic power can be achieved only by voluntary means: by the voluntary choice and agreement of all those who participate in the process of production and trade. In a free market, all prices, wages, and profits are determined not by the arbitrary whim of the rich or of the poor, not by anyone’s “greed” or by anyone’s need but by the law of supply and demand. The mechanism of a free market reflects and sums up all the economic choices and decisions made by all the participants. Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage, according to their own independent, uncoerced judgment.

A man can grow rich and be accorded the influence of leader only if he is able to offer better values, better products or services, at a lower price than others are able to offer. In every country of the world, there are individuals who have made their mark in business world who automatically attained the status of leaders in their respective communities.

We can rightly said from the above the basis and source of leadership power is known to us.In our next series, we shall be looking into the meaning of politics. Your opinion and feedback is expected on the comment column. Do you like the piece? Kindly share.


Victor Imhangbe

Hey, there! I am Victor Imhangbe and I am the brain behind this great lifestyle blog where you get to read everything from life to education to fashion and pretty much about everything else. I invite you to keep keeping tab on our latest news and updates!

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