leadership: authority vs. influence

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Leadership has changed a lot over the years, embracing new tactics and theories in a struggle to define what makes leaders necessary in the first place. Of course organizations need leaders to function, but what kind of leaders? Leaders who get their power from their position, or those who get their power from their influence? There’s a strong case for the latter.

Positional authority manages change and leads by decree. Influential authority embraces change and leads by example. It’s a stark difference, but that’s the point. You can be content to lead from the top down, or you can embrace collaboration and lead like a sergeant—first into battle.

It starts with trust. People would always rather follow someone they trust over someone they fear. Building a culture of trust gives your team the confidence to address potential problems and opportunities honestly and efficiently—leading to increased productivity and innovation. It all leads to a macro theory of leadership, where leaders define their team’s process in terms of what and why, but never HOW.

This influence-based, hands-off approach is fast becoming the future of leadership as organizations adapt to a changing workforce that is motivated more by purpose than by some arbitrary metrics of success or advancement. Avoid this shift and you could find yourself swiftly outdated and scrambling for answers.

On November 16 at 12:00 PM MST, join Niel Nickolaisen, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at O.C. Tanner, as he takes on the topic of leadership, trust, transparency, and much more in a free, HRCI-accredited webinar that will inspire you to try leading with a different kind of power.

By andrew scarcella
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