The Collaborationship Blog

The Collaborationship Blog

Leader vs authority

CollaborationshipPosted by Christian Monö Wed, May 20, 2015 17:47:17

All too often, people confuse the difference between a leader and someone of authority. Here's an excerpt from "Beyond the Leadership Myth: Discover the Power of Collaborationship".

"As mentioned earlier, an authority is a person holding an official position with a mandate to steer and control his/her subordinates. There are many words that describe people in such roles: for example managers, supervisors, politicians, decision-makers, rulers, superiors and so on.

An authority’s role is generally pre-determined in the sense that regardless of the challenges that face the group or the interests that drive the subordinates, the authority remains hierarchically dominant and therefore has the power to enforce his/her will on the others.
A leader, on the other hand, is not the same as an authority. A leader holds no formal power over his/her followers and will only lead as long as there are people who are willing to follow him/her. Consequently, the relationship between leaders and followers is not built on dominance but on a common interest to reach a particular vision or goal, i.e., they share an interest to build collaborationship.

Studying followers at a work place is somewhat like studying wild animal behavior in a zoo. Animals tend to lose some of their natural behavior if placed in captivity for an extended period of time. Similarly, it is difficult to understand true followership and leadership by studying employees at a company or organization. Here authority and hierarchy remain strong. People are paid to perform their tasks and obey their managers. And although we may have the freedom to choose which jobs to apply for, most of us are forced to work in order to make a living. Thus, in a company there may be employees who love what they do, and those who hate it. None of this exists when people truly lead and follow one another in order to build collaborationship.”

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