Authority is not leadership

If your only tool in your management toolbox is authority and your ability to exercise it, then you are not really a well-developed leader. Getting people to follow by way of authority, is as blunt and single-minded as leading people with a gun to their head – it does not require that much talent.

Great leadership does not come from rank, seniority or power. Great leadership comes from actions, results and trust.

Actions is how you exercise your leadership. How you make people perform task, how these tasks combine to yield results. Through actions and results you build trust. When people see your actions being carried out in a meaningful, caring and passionate way. When they see how these actions all combine to go from vision to results. Then they will start to trust you. Then they will start to respect you as a leader.

If all they see is you exercising your power without compassion, without passion, then they might do as they are told because of your authority. But they will never respect you and they will never go out of their way to follow you or make an extra effort to deliver results.

Too many managers and leaders only use blunt force to make people perform the task they need. Too many manager and leaders does not give enough of them selves to either show compassion for the people they lead or the cause/vision they are fighting for.

If you want people to make an extra effort and feel the same commitment for the cause, then you have to lead the way and show people that you both care for them and the cause. And that they can trust your leadership to deliver the results that are needed to reach the end goal.

Leading by power or authority has become the norm and leading by compassion, trust and actions the exception. In order to deliver better results and have people being managed living more meaningful lives, we need to have it the other way around.

It won’t be easy and it probably won’t happen overnight, but we need to raise the bar. Instead of only having managers and leaders being measured by results, which can be obtained by brute force, perhaps we should have them measured on how meaningful the people they manage, feel the work they are doing is and how much they trust their manager.

After al part of a manager/leaders job is managing people. And if we only measure their performance by the results of these people and not by how these people feel about the work they are doing or the person managing them. Then we will never know whether they are great leaders or just blunt power-people.

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