The Authority to Lead?

“I am the boss and you’ll do what I say.”

How many times have you seen or heard someone say that? Frankly, I am amazed that people like this still exist, but they do and there are more of them out there than you think!

Surely this emphasis on the “authority” of leadership is misguided. Hopefully, the protagonists are a dying breed!

It seems to me that great leaders don’t need to advertise their position or their authority. They lead by encouragement and not fear. They gain trust through transparency, honesty, integrity, sympathy, understanding and fairness. The true mark of a leader is the trust their followers have in them.

I recently heard the expression “my team will lay on the train tracks for me.” I thought to myself, either this guy is deluded or his team have a great deal of trust in him. I looked at the people around him… but that’s another story!

About Peter Borner

Peter is an entrepreneur and successful business leader. Currently leading a consultancy firm specialising in technical diligence for M&A and advising global firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies.

, ,



Authority means underlings have to listen. But if all leaders have is authority, well fear isn't as great a motivator as these type of leaders would like the rest of us to believe. My favorite manager ever used to say, "Hey, Barry would you mind....". We both knew I had only 1 way to answer, but the fact that he was kind enough to put the request in the form of a question bought him a lot of loyalty. He always had my back and when faced with a challenge, I still try to respond as he would. He was a great leader.

Peterborner moderator

@barryrsilver You are right. I think that the key is he had your back. He showed you loyalty and you naturally reciprocated. Command and control is never a strategy that will work in the long term.

Latest blog post: Front Page