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What is a True Leader?

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

The third of a 6-Part Series on Servant Leadership

Over the past two weeks we have been covering some of the basics of leadership.

In week one, we talked about leadership in its simplest form being nothing more than influence. Last week, we discussed that leadership comes with responsibility. The responsibility of taking ownership of how we treat others.

This week we want to cover the two primary ways we influence; through power or authority. Let’s quickly define these …

Power: The ability to force or coerce someone to do your will, even if they would choose not to, because of your position or your might. Authority: The skill of getting people to willingly do your will because of your personal influence.

My early days as an organizational leader I used power to get things done in my organization because I didn’t know any better. It was the method that I had observed and experienced in my life. It wasn’t that I was a tyrant as a boss, but to move my team I used my position as their boss to get things done.

My frustration during those years was that my team didn’t do things because they wanted to. They did things because I told them to. Intellectually and emotionally this just didn’t seem right to me. I felt there had to be a better way. My goal was to develop a high-performance team that excelled because everyone on the team did their job because they understood the importance of their role. Plus, they did not want to let the team down.

My desire to be a better manager is what helped me to understand the differences between managing and leading. Many managers and executives use varying levels of power to get things done. True leaders earn and develop the authority to influence their teams to get the results needed for their organization.

Over the next few days take a look at how you are trying to influence your team. Is it through the power of your position, or the goodwill you have developed through authority? Next week we talk about how leaders can learn how to transition from power to authority.

This is the third segment of Anavo’s 6-part series on Servant Leadership. You can find all of our articles on the blog page.

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