Authority releases the power in others; it does not eclipse or extinguish their power. I have presented the ten core competencies of the Leader’s Leader according to the LEADERSHIP acrostic: Logos Example Authority Destiny Education Relationships Systems Happiness Ideation Passing on a Legacy We have examined the first two – Logos and Example – in great detail. The third core competency of the Leader’s Leader is authority.
True authority is the authority that makes other people authoritative; real power is the power that makes other people powerful.
Authority releases the power in others; it does not eclipse or extinguish their power. The role of the leader in this core competency is as an empowerer who gives authority to those he or she leads. Leader’s Leaders extract excellence from everyone around them. NULL Throughout history, the teachers who have had the greatest impact have been those who taught through the use of parables and stories. People naturally respond to a good story, and in many societies, particularly prior to the invention of the printing press, the individual who was an effective story-teller often enjoyed a powerful, prestigious position in the community. The reason story-telling carries such universal appeal is because our lives carry all the elements of a great story. There is an introduction and a definite conclusion, and in between we find all the elements that make for the highest drama, with moments of love and loss, tragedy and triumph, great fear and inexpressible joy, laughter and tears. We watch a two-hour movie compress all these elements into an artificially brief time frame and walk away, thinking our lives dull by comparison. That just isn’t true! Life is all about writing a great story, and we add pages to that epic narrative every day. The organizational setting is no different; you, along with your purpose partners, are co-authors and co-editors of a great story: The Life and Times of Your Company. Every day, your actions as individuals and as a group write new chapters into the story.
Everyone in your organization should make a conscious decision about what kind of story they wish to write. In the moment of truth that takes place in front of a customer, a single staffer is the company logos with skin on!
And that staffer’s actions, in that single moment with that individual customer, imprint an indelible draft on the mind of the customer – a draft of the story of their experience with your company. Customers leave your company, and go forth and tell their story to friends, family, and coworkers. That story is very much like a daily newspaper; it is published quickly and distributed widely, particularly if it contains bad news! A customer approaches a service rep at ‘HaveANiceDay’ Retailers to obtain a refund for a defective item. Perhaps the service rep had a bitter argument with his wife that morning, and he is still simmering when he greets the customer. The refund is eventually obtained, but the staffer is brusque and disagreeable, and the customer is seething by the time the exchange is over. The angry customer leaves the store and tells anyone who will listen about the bad experience she had at HaveANiceDay Retailers!
In reality, the customer had a bad experience with a single individual; however, in that customer’s mind, one individual represents the entire HaveANiceDay Corporation.
The chapter in that customer’s life-story labeled “HaveANiceDay Retailers” is a horror story! And now that customer’s edition of The Daily Gazette hits the streets, announcing in bold headlines that the HaveANiceDay Corporation is surly and rude to its customers. Once the story is written, it is in the book; the unfortunate chapter cannot be erased! We can write newer, better chapters, but we will never completely erase the old ones, particularly in the minds of our “readers,” i.e., our customers. The leadership in any organization would sincerely hope that no one on their staff would review the story they have just helped to write about the company and say, “That’s a lousy story! I don’t like that.” Leaders and managers in every organization should want to create a story that will “Wow” people.
The Leader’s Leader strives to create an environment where both customers and staff walk away saying, “Wow! I’ve never been treated so well! I like coming here!”
We all dream of working in a place where the staff doesn’t feel an obligation to work, but believes they have a vocation, a calling, and the environment crackles with discretionary effort – people to do whatever it takes to get it right the first time, and to approach their jobs with a sense of urgency and passion. If leadership wants to work in such an extraordinary environment, there must be an extraordinary philosophy that provides the foundation for it. If your company is writing a story that you don’t like – worse still, one that your customers don’t like – then you ought to take a close look at your philosophy!