If you have leverage, you hold the advantage in a situation or the stronger position in a contest, physical or otherwise.

The lever is a tool for getting more work done with less physical force. With the right leverage, you might be able to lift a heavy box. This refers to non-physical situations too: the power to move or influence others is also leverage. Since your boss has the power to fire you, that's a lot of leverage to get you to do what he wants. If your friend owes you a favor, you have leverage to get a favor of your own.

Definitions of leverage
  1. noun
    the mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever
    synonyms: purchase
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    type of:
    mechanical phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon associated with the equilibrium or motion of objects
  2. noun
    strategic advantage; power to act effectively
    “relatively small groups can sometimes exert immense political leverage
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    bargaining chip
    leverage in the form of an inducement or a concession useful in successful negotiations
    type of:
    advantage, vantage
    the quality of having a superior or more favorable position
  3. noun
    investing with borrowed money as a way to amplify potential gains (at the risk of greater losses)
    synonyms: leveraging
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    type of:
    investing, investment
    the act of investing; laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit
  4. verb
    supplement with leverage
    leverage the money that is already available”
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    type of:
    add as a supplement to what seems insufficient
  5. verb
    provide with leverage
    “We need to leverage this company”
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    type of:
    furnish, provide, render, supply
    give something useful or necessary to
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