7 Ways to Gain Authority
Those who constantly demand and use authority don’t deserve it. Thoreau said, “Any fool can make a rule…”
Longing for authority reveals a deep sense of powerlessness, unwillingness to defend ideas, and lack of commitment to work with others.
But, authority has a role in organizations.
The limit of authority is service.
The power of authority is shared values.
Delegated authority is permission to act
without constantly asking permission.
7 Ways to gain authority:
- Don’t pull rank. Treat people as equals.
- Use authority to serve.
- Remove obstacles rather than creating them.
- Live under the authority of those over you.
- Build alliances both up and down organizational hierarchies.
- Network beyond your organization.
- Gather and listen to advisers.
Those who cling to authority loose it.
Those who give authority gain it.
- Authorize teams to hire their teammates.
- Release others to take action, apart from your direct guidance.
- Delegate decisions and hold people responsible for their choices.
Don’t give authority to those hungry for authority. Give authority to those hungry to serve.
Giving authority can’t be neglect. You lose authority when others believe you are neglecting your responsibilities.
10 ways to spot someone you can trust with authority?
- Vision. Do they want to go where you’re going?
- Context. Do they know where they fit in and how others fit in? Do they see the big picture?
- Consequences. Do they understand the consequences of their decisions?
- Competence. Have they demonstrated competence in the past?
- Accountability. Do they take responsibility for their decisions and actions?
- Follow-through. Do they get things done?
- Integrity. Do they admit mistakes?
- Ownership. Do they take it personally?
- Connection. Are they connected to others?
- Compassion. Do they care?
Bonus: Values. Do they strongly align with organizational values?
Facebook fans answer: “Gain authority by _________.”
How is authority best delegated?
How can leaders gain authority?
Well, “every second out senses are taking in over 11 million bits of information….our conscious mind can only process 11 of those bits per second. That means …the rest is being processed out of our awareness”. Dr A. K. Pradeep. “The Buying Brain”.
So answering questions are really a stab in the dark right? Hehe
Wow just think how much info I lack to make a quality decision!!!
Here goes anyhow!!!!! Delegate to those who believe what I believe, if I surrounded myself with people who believe what I believe I trust all of them.
I believe authority is gained by clearly stating ones intent. Keeping their word and being consistent.
But what do I know I am a seeing with 10 million 9 hundred 89 thousand bits of info I am completely unaware of!!! Lol
Do not like that, take it up with Dr Pradeep!!! Lol
SP back to mostly unaware but ridiculously happy!!!!
Thanks Scott. Declaring intent…. good call!
Oh yeah, left out one thing but understandable, right?
I have found it most effective to speak on my experience, mostly. Stating facts backed up by googled research is cool too! Facts do not lie, people are just for the most part unaware of them! Quite understandable, considering the spiritual being having a human experience thingy we are all experiencing. hehe Allegedly…….
People avoid pain so if I take a direct angle at them they cannot really listen, they are avoiding the pain they anticipate. First sign of anticipated danger mind closes up real tight like, So be like the old bull and tip toe down into their grey matter! Go with emotions, not logic! LOL.
When I speak of me and ,my experience, that which I know best, then others minds are more open to listening.
Learning language patterns is also way cool.Discover their closest held presuppositions and repeat those to them. Stories filled with their presuppositions…….amazing!!! Just saying…
Your “10 ways to spot…” remind me of the importance of alignment. Does this person align with vision, values, etc. This isn’t the same thing as being “just like me.” Last thing my team needs is a bunch of people just like me. But, alignment helps seed trust and creates the pathway for giving authority. Thanks Dan!
Thanks Steve. Great distinction and very valuable.
I was promoted to my current position less than two years after I was hired. At the time, there were probably half-a-dozen people in my department who had more — much more — tenure (and several of those ended up reporting to me). So my authority was tenuous at first. One way I found that I could gain authority in the eyes of my team was to USE my authority to their benefit. It was one thing to tell them I had their backs . . . it was a whole other matter when situations arose where I could use my authority to demonstrate that I truly did have their backs.
Support – having their backs – is huge..
Good morning Dan;
Finding good leaders can be challenging. Identifying those who you sincerely believe can receive and distribute REAL authentic ‘Authority’ is more diifficut. Far reaching authority can be intoxicating. For power and position to be positive it, (authority), must be engaged with extreme humility and dignity. Leaders without the skills and talents to to use this very important part of a leaders mission is always detrimental to what is true, and what is rite. If you have to tell people you handle authority well. “You probably DON’T.” Character is at the heart of the issue. If you can’t, or won’t recogise people, and our relationships with them need to be positive AT ALL COST and in ALL situations we had better be asking ourselves some ‘hard’ reflective questions starting with “am I really worthy to be a Leader”???
“Happy Hump-dayaaaa Dano”!
Love the “ten ways ” spotters guide…
A great yardstick for self-examination too!
Excellent ideas, Dan. I particularly like the Bonus: Values. Do they strongly align with organizational values? But I would challenge that while organizational values are critical, that aligning strongly with personal values is where integrity comes from.
Thank you for making me think critically every morning. 😃
I’ve always believed we can’t give our staff responsibility–unless we also empower them with authority. As I read your post, Dan, I’ve learned that authority, itself, is responsibility.
Authority is like a gun. In the hands of criminal, a gun is a weapon.
in the hands of a hunter, the same gun is a tool.
What power is derived from authority…both good and not-so-good,
perhaps evil. The power of authority is not only from a physical capacity but an indomitable will. Power seems to consist from the capacity to link “will” with purpose, and to lead by reason and cooperation.
Ricks that sums it up rather nicely. We all have the will to choose, you either choose what is worhty and what is right, or something unacceptable…Thanks Steve
‘Appreciate your comments and insight, Sgt Steve. Our “will” is certainly something to reckon with. By the way, are you still officially serving our country? If so, where and in what regard? If not, what field of specialty do you work?
Hey Rick, I am am X-Marine and am currently an 18 year veteran of the Pa Dept of Correction. I serve on numerous commitees, am a staff trainer and until recently was a Hostage Negotiator\Hostage Negotiator Trainer. I am currently attempting to assist in designing and implementing a new Management Developement Leadership Program for the DOC.
Congratulations to you on your work, your position, and your field. While I realize many of your colleagues may not see it this way, I believe Prison/Corrections is a noble profession. I have two brothers who were Wardens…one at Corcoran and another at Pelican Bay here in California. My sister is the Chief of Psychological Services of CDC. And several nephews and nieces are Prison Officers at
various prisons. And, believe it or not, I visit prisons for both prison officers and prison inmates about one weekend a month to this day.
While I am sure you know, there’s a lot of “unreported” anxiety and mild depression in prison officers–as a result of their high-stress work. The amount of sick leave is an indicator and early retirement is another, while marital and family issues is always the straw that
breaks the camel’s back. Early and innocuous intervention–as if in casual conversation–is key to both prevention and wellness. Prison officers are notorious for taciturnity–hardly ever discussing their personal issues especially in “therapy.”
Yet, ironically, DOC’s don’t offer “wellness” assistance–irrespective of the fact that prison officers each day face “critical stress” that is akin to military scenarios–and military personnel must “debrief.”
I could go on and on about prison life from my perspective. If you wish to email me and further our conversation, please do so at
R2KM@aol.com. Continued blessings and success…Rick
I will be contacting you Rick. You should be proud of the ackomplishments of you and your family members. “Thanks” for reaching out I’ll be in touch. email@example.com please feel free to contact me anytime!!!!!!
Another word for the “10 ways to spot someone you can trust with authority” is reliability. Can they be depended upon?
I think that this is one blog post that should find it’s place in every corporate boardroom. First, board members should look themselves in the mirror and ask if they live up to these principles.
Then, they should practice this in the organisation, and make this a living principle for hiring leaders
…. and, evaluating them!
Another great post, Dan. I especially like “Remove obstacles rather than creating them.”
This is an incredibly powerful post.
You have gone to the core of what motivates folks to pull their rank on others. Somewhere deep down the inadequacy and low self concept that exists inside or the need to hide one’s true persona behind a mask.
But what you have not visited is what path and practice set one needs to adopt to show up as an empowered individual who attracts authority rather than trying to hold onto it. I would love to hear from you further in this regard.
People learn to no longer demand authority when it is realized that we can SHARE authority.
I’ve S-L-O-W-L-Y learned (and still learning) that I don’t have to give up my own authority in order to learn from anyone else. Nor do I expect (and this is important) anyone else to give UP their own authority in order to learn from me. When people in a relationship or on a team are more conscious of this dynamic, it can literally TRANSFORM connection and relationship.
When authority is still mishandled due to power and control issues (our society being deeply inbedded in this for a long time so it’s not like this is ‘new’….) it can be a bit of a challenge when the two collide. i.e. When 1 person makes the switch and encounters another who is still caught up in the power plays.
Now when BOTH people or ‘sides’ of a group get on the same page…’Oh! Wow! I don’t lose ANYTHING by learning from those who have more knowledge/experience/expertise in areas of x,y,z and vice versa…in fact, we all GAIN!’ … It’s almost like …why didn’t we ‘think’ of this BEFORE!? What has prevented us from doing it this way all along?
When I FIND relationships like this…it’s a breath of fresh air. Literally! Everyone is free to learn and grow together…and play to each others strengths…offsetting each others weaknesses… etc.