The Art of Leading, Coaching, & Influencing Others™: Authority versus Control
A brief excerpt from Joe’s new book, The Art of Leading, Coaching, & Influencing Others™, coming out later this year.
A number of years ago a colleague of mine recommended a book entitled, Power versus Force by David Hawkins. It was an extremely powerful book that discussed applied kinesiology, quantum physics, particles, waves, and vibration, it was fascinating. In my studies and research on the topic of leadership and influence, I came to the conclusion that the concepts of power versus force applied to leadership as well. What follows is one of the key components of leadership between a power-based leader and a force-based leader.
Power & Leading from a Place of Authority: Most people have a negative connotation about the word authority. They seem to confuse authority with the word control. The word authority appeared around the early 1300’s and comes from the Latin word auctor which means author. Author – meaning, enlarger, founder, one who causes to grow. This is a far different meaning from what most people believe about authority today.
A few thousand years ago, there was a very wise man who was actually a revolutionary. He spoke of a new way of living that was rooted in forgiveness and love, and in doing so, he changed the world. His enemies feared him and even asked, “Who is this man who teaches with such authority?” He spoke with authority and people were drawn to him. In turn, they followed him by the masses and still do today, some 2000 years later.
All great leaders lead from a place of authority. They are committed to enlarging the talents and skills of others, they are committed to helping other to grow.
Force & Leading From a Place of Control: When a leader is all about controlling their people, it can cause quite a few issues, especially in the context of the workplace and most of them are not good. Why? Because people don’t like to be controlled. They want to feel like they have some sense of control in their work and that they are empowered to make choices. Leaders who are all about controlling are more focused on themselves and their own fears. In an attempt to control their people, they project their fears onto their people, and then allow their fears to play out on the workplace stage in sometimes very dramatic and harmful ways.
Try this the next time your with someone. Ask them to hold up their hand palm facing you, place your hand against theirs and start pushing, without a word they will automatically start pushing back on you. This is a great example of how Newton’s Third Law of Motion applies to Leadership. It states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
When I am leading from a place of force, and I exert force on you in an attempt to control you, you will find a way to push back. It may be outwardly in a direct and aggressive way. It may be inwardly in a passive when I disengage or shut down. Or it may hidden in a passive-aggressive way by attempting to make my reaction appear different then what it really is, false agreement, talking behind your back, etc. The results: in your effort to control you lose control.
Each and every day, as a leader, you have the power to lead from a place of authority or a place of control.
What will you do today … that causes others to grow?