Authority and Leadership by Claude de Scorraille
It is said that one day someone asked Lao Tzu : "How to improve beings without governing them?" »
He answered :
Be careful not to disturb their minds, for the mind of man is so made that he feels oppressed by all pressure and elated by all incitement. Oppressed he feels imprisoned; exalted, he can wreak havoc. Flexibility and kindness prevail over hardness and violence which freezes like ice or burns like fire.
It is important to return to the etymology of the word authority . This word comes from the Latin AUGERE which means: to increase , to reveal to the other that he is capable of more than what has been given to him by nature, to be otherwise more and better,
When we succeed in being authoritative we participate in increasing our self-confidence in our own growth.
Authority is expressed in the relationship, it benefits its two protagonists, if one grows the other also grows.
When one is authoritative one acts, and as in any action there are three dimensions which are determining: the strategy, the communication, the relational attitude
Persuasive communication is fundamental because persuasive communication is about convincing both the head and the heart. And in this way reduce the mechanisms of resistance to change.
Authority is expressed in the relationship : authority creates dependence and it is important to be able to establish a flexible complementary relationship. The position of inferiority is thus a way of avoiding becoming encysted in a position of superiority and leaves the possibility of taking it at the appropriate time. When there is a difficulty in being authoritative it is the reflection of a rigidity in the relationship which is based on a behavioral excess which can be to be too much in control, or too much in avoidance and obviously this contributes to rigidify beliefs (my collaborator is incapable, for example). And when it gets complicated, rigidity is found at all these levels.
Being authoritative is a circular process:
- Or one acts of benevolence by giving autonomy and initiative to one's collaborator to achieve an objective or solve a problem.
- Or we exercise control by encouraging desired and effective actions and by expressing what is wrong.
- Or one demonstrates firmness so that corrective actions can be carried out by one's collaborator (avoid doing in place of), again in the form of an objective that gives room for initiative and accountability.
To end these general points on authority, I would like to tell you how one can restore an authority that has shown itself to be failing until now by referring to Ponocrates who knew how to accompany the transformation of the giant Gargantua into a valiant knight! Gargantua's father wanted his son to be well educated and for that had called on many pedagogues. But gargantua didn't learn anything at all. He was forced to learn texts by heart and he understood nothing, learned nothing and let himself stay in his bed where he ate, drank without limits, he even ended up defecating in his bed, in short c was the disaster...
His desperate father heard about the pedagogical virtues of a certain Ponocrates and convinced him to take care of his son. From there everything changed and Gargantua was able to engage in a process of change and metamorphosed into an accomplished and learned knight.
What did Ponocrates do?
- observe a situation with kindness
- list bad habits and identify system resources
- implement an operational change action plan based on SMART objectives
- make effective an accountability control system
- introduce flexibility into the relationship: provide for informal, playful exchanges
In this way it is possible to restore an authority that allows everyone to fulfill themselves and to transform themselves, which restores vital momentum and is a factor of individual, collective and organizational health.
Keywords: problem solving , strategy , Palo Alto approach , strategic systemic approach , Authority