Leader vs. Authority
Its so interesting that each month seems to present a theme to ponder and notice. This seems to happen as the Universe sends reminders and repetitions that leave me no choice but to notice. As you may know, I focus my work on CEO’s and leaders of change. Which results in quite a bit of study and research around Leadership. What does it mean, how does active leadership look and what happens when we do it ‘well’? Questions such as these are always floating around for me and effect how I notice the world and those I work with.
I had a conversation a few weeks ago that has stuck with me and I’ve been tossing around what there is to learn here.
One of my clients was recently frustrated (for weeks) because his team wasn’t working well together and things we going off the rails a bit. He felt that he’d asked and asked for them to get it together, to participate with the direction of the company and to ‘just do the damn job’… (although he didn’t say that), it was the feeling behind the requests and meetings. As a result of not getting what he desired he was tired, frustrated, stressed and many other adjectives, yet the crew was still not turning around.
As of our last meeting this has totally shifted. Yup, he’s back on track, as is the team and everyone seems all in. With a small staff of about 6, this is critical because they each influence one another, so when one person is out of whack everything gets wonky.
So, WHY? Why are things different now?
A few things happened in terms of behavior but the biggest is something I was reminded of this past weekend. The difference between being the Authority and being a Leader.
Prior to this shift he was standing in the place of Authority. In the dictionary its described as: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. And in this case I’m imagining that there was (as a result of feeling tired and overstressed) that the communication inside the work place could have been perceived in this way.
However, when he shifted into Being a Leader, this went away and became something very different. A Leader wouldn’t ‘enforce obedience’, but would more likely take the time to inquire, explain and enroll. A Leader wouldn’t so much ‘give orders’ as ask the team to help solve a nagging, persistent problem.
A leader would not assume that his position of power would implicitly lead to agreement amongst the team, rather a leader is part of the solution brought forth with curiosity, respect and caring for how all would be impacted by any actions taken.
Leaders treat others with the understanding that they are not the only educated ones in the room, that we each have our expertise and that the thoughts of others are valued, valuable and critical to the overall success of a project. We acknowledge that we may not have all the answers nor all the tools needed for every occasion.
Think about how often this is the case. Think about a time when you’ve felt minimized, undervalued or simply dismissed. Was the other person acting as an Authority or as a Leader?
Leadership isn’t something we are handed, it’s something we earn. Something we choose to BE. Have you considered the sort of leader you’d like to be?**
**For those that would appreciate a deeper dive into this sort of inquiry, please reach out. I’m accepting 2 new clients into my private consulting/coaching practice.
Enjoy YOUR Unforgettable Journey,
p.s.…. this is a bit of what’s available when we work together.. to learn more let’s talk!
Branding Specialist and Strategic Planner, J. Winslow brings decades of solid experience to each project and leader she interacts with. Clients range from non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to Madison Avenue Biggies including: Women’s Day Magazine, Cover Girl and Elizabeth Taylor. She also enjoys working with TEDx speakers and students ready to leverage their own brand stories.