Referent power is power of an individual over the Team or Followers, based on a high level of identification with, admiration of, or respect for the powerholder/ leader.
Nationalism, patriotism, celebrities, mass leaders and widely respected people are examples of referent power in effect.
Referent power is one of the Five Bases of Social Power, as defined by Bertram Raven and his colleagues in 1959.
Definition: Referent power refers to the ability of a leader to influence a follower because of the follower's loyalty, respect, friendship, admiration, affection, or a desire to gain approval.
Referent power is gained by a leader who has strong interpersonal relationship skills.
Referent power, as an aspect of personal power, becomes particularly important as organizational leadership is increasingly about collaboration and influence rather than command and control.
In an organizational setting, referent power is most easily seen in the charismatic leader who excels in making others feel comfortable in his or her presence. Staff typically express their excitement about work in terms of their attraction to their leader's personal characteristics and charisma. The reason they commit to their work is because of the leader's likability and they base their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment on their leader's approval.