Authority, Or Auctoritas, Is Essential To Effective Leadership

Authority, Or Auctoritas, Is Essential To Effective Leadership

Are you familiar with value-anchored encouragement?

If you’re in a position of authority, it’s probably second nature to you…even though you might not realize it’s what you’re doing.

I’ve talked a great deal about the health of your team, but for the month of August, I’m going to make it all about you as a leader.

So, let’s dive in.

Holding authority means focussing on collective objectives

Let’s be honest.

Those of you who are real leaders never really take time off to think about leading…do you?

Your brain might not be focussed on the tasks at hand, but the “leadership software” is running in the background all the time. It’s just minimized on your screen…

Leaders need to thrive so their team can thrive.

It’s true…there’s no shortage of armchair critics ready to render judgement on your decisions. It’s always easier to criticize than to compliment and commend someone for their effort. But…

Are you ready for the fall?

In the post-pandemic workplace, things will look a little different.

Think about the various forces bearing down on your team…and you.

Some of your employees have been home-schooling and juggling work for the past year. Others have been missing contact with their colleagues. And, sadly, some of your employees suffered losses during the pandemic.

They’re all coming back to work with their own experiences…and some scars.

Are you going to keep your head up and lead with authenticity?

I’d encourage you to think about your target…to avoid falling down and taking your team down with you.

Those who valued working from home – in fact, got more done there – are reunited with others who are excited to be back with their colleagues.

As a leader, you’re trying to manage people who want to stay working from home while others just want to get back to the way it has always been…it’s a delicate balance.

Finally, heading into the next season as a leader without thinking about yourself is not only dangerous but foolish.

This is not about telling you anything, but merely asking you to lift your head and think about where you are aimed…

Do people leave bad jobs or bad leaders?

I call it the hot water teabag effect.

When your company is in hot water, what’s inside always leaks out of leaders…

To have the authority, credibility, and qualities to lead through change and crisis to enable an outcome of growth is an inside-out endeavour.

The inside-out leadership approach focuses on what’s inside…and concentrating on what you are aimed towards. But, since what’s inside always leaks out when a person, leader, or organization is in hot water, why not start there?

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché from Alice in Wonderland…

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there…

But it is not some leader who is warm-fuzzy.

Friday night pizza-and-wings buddy who is everyone’s friend may be popular. However, someone in authority who can be a leadership figure through crisis and change will lead their team into a positive, healthy new norm.

Granted, this person may not be liked by many but is the one trusted, respected, and followed through the storm.

I know you know that People don’t leave bad jobs. They leave bad leaders.

Authority is about character

Let’s play a word game.

The Latin term auctoritas is vital to understanding the root of the word authority. The context of politics and the social structure of ancient Rome is imperative for the followable leadership the people value.

However, the term cannot simply be translated as “authority”.

The best viable translation would be “social authority, reputation, and status”. It was different than legal or military authority. Rather, auctoritas was an intangible prestige. It was partly earned and partly inherent.

It could be earned by valor and braveness on the battlefield. It could also be reached by obtaining the most prestigious political magistracies, such as consul – the highest office of ancient Rome.

But it was also inherent because one had to have a noble bloodline, ancient family name, and far-reaching social and political connections.

It is this definition and ethos, that kind of influence – authority – that people rally around. The kind of influence and leadership that people know also benefits them.

In leadership, those who think outside the box, are direct, or the ‘in your face’ types can be considered authentic.

They get celebrated for their independence and unwillingness to bend to other’s expectations. However, this thinking as “authentic” frequently results in bias-forming. For a woman to be this way, she can be referred to in several negative terms – bossy, belligerent, or malicious. For a male, he gets referred to as some other negative labels, combined with arrogance or controlling.

How do you want to be perceived as a leader?

I remember an older man telling me years ago, “John, there are two types of people leaders in the world. To be a leader, we must decide which type we want to be.”

I chuckled at this senior, so with curiosity, I asked what he thought were the two types of people leaders.
With the smile that comes from the depth of wisdom, he shared…some people you are glad to see. Some people you are happy to see, go. The choice is which one you will be?

So, I challenge you, as a leader, to consider these thoughts:

  • Think about this insight and the people you love to see. Then, think about the people you love to see, go.
    • What is it about these two types that make it that way? What is their auctoritas?
  • What kind of leader do you want to be?
  • When it comes to your auctoritas, what are the qualities, and values, you want people to experience through you?
  • Who can you ask for an honest observation of what people see about you?
    • How to address or resolve this gap cannot happen until you clearly know the influence, auctoritas, you want to have.

Would you like help to shape your leadership? It’s a changing world…I can help you keep up and find your auctoritas – your genuine authority.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you.

Crisis Intervention Is An Opportunity, Not A Limitation or Liability
Crisis Management Is An Opportunity To Build Your Culture (Part 2)
Dealing with conflict requires a values-based approach. Here’s why

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Organizations across North America have been benefiting from FORTLOG’s Interpersonal Crisis Management, Coaching & Consulting services for over 30 years, counting on John to help shepherd them through their most challenging storms. Today, a growing number of workplaces benefit from John’s proven strategies, systems and speeches that focus on integrating core-value practices “not just policies and procedures''.

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