The concept of authority as something that causes another person to “do what you want him to do” is reflected in most definitions. For instance, the Random House Dictionary of the English Language speaks of authority as “a power or right to direct the actions or thoughts of others. Authority is a power or right, usually because of rank or office, to issue commands and to punish for violations.” Again the root idea seems to be control or direction of the actions of others.
We see this same idea even in sophisticated examinations of authority. For instance, William Oncken, Jr., in a 1970 Colorado Institute of Technology Journal, gives an analysis of authority that suggests it is comprised of four elements:
1. The Authority of Competence: the more competent the other fellow knows you are, the more confident he will be that you know what you are talking about and the more likely he will be to follow your orders, requests, or suggestions. He will think of you as an authority in the matter under consideration and will feel it risky to ignore your wishes.
2. The Authority of Position: This component gives you the right to tell someone, “Do it or else.” It has teeth. “The boss wants it” is a bugle call that can snap many an office or shop into action.
3. The Authority of Personality: The easier it is for the other fellow to talk to you, to listen to you, or to work with you, the easier he will find it to respond to your wishes.
4. The Authority of Character: This component is your “credit rating” with other people as to your integrity, reliability, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, personal morals, and ethics. Obviously you will get more and better from a man who has respect for your character than from one who hasn’t.
- Dwight Eisenhower described leadership as “The act of getting somebody else to do what you want done because he wants to do it.”
- Give your decision, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong. – Lord Mansfield
- When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision. – Lucius, Second Lord Falkland
- Leadership is the ability to hide your panic from others. – Quoted in MSC Newsletter
- Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone’s following you. – Henry Gilmer
- Effective leadership is the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of predetermined objectives. – Ted Engstrom
- When a general gets too far ahead of his troops, he’s often mistaken for the enemy. – Anon
- Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it towards goals of beneficial permanence that fulfills the group’s real needs. – Dr. John Haggai, Lead On!
- Experts know what should be done; leaders know what should be done and how to get people to do it. – Quoted in C. Barber, Nehemiah and the Dynamics of Leadership, p. 72.
- You can judge leaders by the size of the problems they tackle—people nearly always pick a problem their own size, and ignore or leave to others the bigger or smaller ones. – Anthony Jay, in Bits and Pieces, Sept., 1989
- Effective leadership is the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of predetermined objectives. – Ted Engstrom, in Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 117.
- A leader who keeps his ear to the ground allows his rear end to become a target. – Angie Papadakis
- You cannot paint the “Mona Lisa” by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters. – William F. Buckley, Jr.
- Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Anon
- A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. – John Maxwell
- A leader is a person with a magnet in his heart and a compass in his head. – Vance Havner
- Leadership in the local church should be determined by spirituality, not notoriety. – Tony Evans
- The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn. – David Russell
- It is small wonder where the shepherds hesitate and stumble, that the sheep draw back affrighted. – Scott Nearing.
- The captain of a floundering ship does little good by criticizing the crew to the passengers.
- In order to give the illusion of authority, one must make immediate changes. – loose paraphrase of Douglas McArthur
- The trouble with being a leader today is that you can’t be sure whether people are following you or chasing you.
- One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.