How Authority Makes You Weak

In a recent HBR article, Brigadier Bill Dunham is the former Commandant of the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines talks about how relying on your authority as an officer is weak:

Talking about your decisions isn’t always feasible or desirable, but it is important, and a leader or manager who regularly fails to constructively engage his people will almost always fail to get the best out of them.

I would go further than that: Authority is the weakest form of power. Any leader who relies mostly or exclusively on their authority will fail. The best leaders are those that use their authority sparsely or not at all.

In business you can tell who these leaders are because they’re the ones, who when asked what motivates their employees, answer “Not getting fired.”

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