Authority and Leadership by Claudette Portelli

Leaders are actors who have the power to persuade others in order to lead them towards a defined objective.

Today, when we talk about authority, we are talking about people capable of imposing themselves and imposing their point of view. Now, it is not at all about that; Gandhi, for example, had incredible authority without ever seeking to impose his authority.

The "minute manager" says that the key to success is influence and not the mere fact of authority.

When we think about our approach in which we talk about attempts at solutions, we focus on the way of being of the leader, on the way he has to get there. And for that, he must above all be someone who is flexible.

At the CTS in Arezzo, we have deciphered authority patterns and cut them into 6 types. Their common characteristic is that they are all rigid profiles:

  •  the most classic, the one we have most in mind, is based on the use of power and to bring others to obey; "I'm always right". Employees are dissatisfied, unmotivated, relationships gradually deteriorate and they quit their jobs,
  • protective hypers, onemen shows; capable and intelligent, they tend to show off, have difficulty delegating because they think others are not capable enough. They take it upon themselves and try to do everything themselves. So that employees, although in a comfort zone, think that they are less and less competent and develop a high level of stress that can lead to burnout,
  • the permissive democrats; they are always open to discussion because they believe, everything can be discussed, everything must be discussed. They are afraid of discord. They are permissive but do not give themselves the possibility of sanctioning. This leads to a leveling of the hierarchy and the loss of respect for employees,
  • the sacrificial ones; they sacrifice themselves for their mission, live to work, constantly complain about their workload but do nothing to change the situation. Moreover, they expect others to do the same. No matter what sacrifice is made, it's never enough,
  • delegators: they spend their time delegating their responsibilities to others or even to experts to avoid being responsible for failures, have the illusion that others will do better but do not give direction and do not coordinate,
  • the intermittent: they are not rigid in their way of being, they have "pathological doubt" and are constantly changing their minds. Full of doubts and questions, they are open to any new proposal: internet, training, training... But there is no common thread. The strategy changes constantly before they even had time to see if what they put in place worked. They are so flexible that there is no concretization. We go around in circles, we have difficulties to implement and achieve the objectives.

A leader should not be rigid but should seek to be rigorous. He must free himself from chains, be flexible and adaptable to the situations he encounters.

He must be able to ride the waves when he encounters them, have a researcher's attitude in the way he acts. As Darwin said, the species that survive are those that are adaptable to change.

So effective leaders are those who know how to solve problems and how to communicate them.

Rigor but not rigidity; leaders must be able to think outside the box; they are problem solvers. And they must maintain a lasting vision, be able to define it and transmit it. They must be able to look at a situation from different points of view and, depending on the resources, prepare an action.

The technique applied in Arezzo is that of the mountaineer; the principle is that when the goal is high, you have to start from above by working in stages. When a leader has the capacity to plan rigorously, he must not impose but persuade. "I will involve them so that they want to do something."

The base

- listen to verbal and non-verbal language

- ask

- see and offer alternatives

- identify and manage resistance to change

- feel the need to change

- build small agreements

- take one up or down positions using a communication technique that gains influence.


We must not do violence to nature but persuade her; a leader must know how to magnify. To be rigorous of course, but adaptable according to the situations and their evolution.