A True Leader VS. An Authoritative Figure


    A true leader vs. an authoritative figure. – When a person is given a role to supervise others and see to it that certain goals and objectives are achieved, it is very common to see such a person being referred to as a leader. This is, however, a very big misconception that might not appear that significant. In order to be able to differentiate between a true leader and an authoritative leader, one has to first understand how these people function with regards to their group of people that they are expected to lead.

    The differences between a leader and an authoritative person can be seen in the following paragraphs:

    Choice: This is something that is always seen with leadership roles and never with authoritative figures. A true leader always gives his or her followers the chance to make their own decisions with regard to whether they want to embark on that particular journey with him or her. It is the sole prerogative of the followers to choose between following that person or not and whatever decision they make is respected by the leader. However, a person with authority does not seek the choice of his or her followers and as such, there is no avenue for the members of the group to decide on what they want to do. The person in charge has the power to make them do what is expected of them and whatever complains they have will have to be bottled up. Therefore, the first distinction between a leader and an authoritative person is that of choice. Whilst a leader allows people to choose to follow him or her, an authoritative person makes people follow him or her.

    Personal and positional authority: This is also another major differentiating element between a leader and a person with authority. It is quite unfortunate that these two are mostly used to mean the same thing especially by those with power and control over others. However, they are very contrasting and distinctive as can be seen in the brief analysis below;

    Personal authority is the influence that an individual has over others by virtue of how deeply rooted his or her beliefs are and how well-tuned he or she is with his or her true human nature. This is a person who has the ability to get others behind him without telling them to do so due largely to the fact that he or she is really very inspired and as such this inspiration is able to be transferred into others who then make a decision to follow such a person.

    Positional authority is the influence that an individual has over others by virtue of his or her position. A clear example is that of an individual with a supervisory role in an organization. Such a person has the authority to lead others towards achieving those targets which have been set down by the organization and the main tools used here are control and power in order to get the entire group to work towards the particular target.

    Looking at these two types of authority helps in understanding what one needs to do if he or she wishes to be regarded as a true leader. Positional authority will always be available as they do come with the particular position that an individual attains. However, personal authority is something that is not automatic and as such needs to be nurtured and developed in order to be effectively used. Doing this will help an individual to be regarded as a true leader as he or she will become a person who gets people to follow his or her lead without making use of the positional power that comes with his or her work. This is very clear in what inspirational figures like Jesus and Mohammed did. Even with their charismatic authority they never forced people to do as they wanted but rather allowed them to make their own choice of emulating what they were doing.

    A leader serves: A leader does not wait for others to get a particular job or task done. He or she gets involved with whatever work it is that needs to be done. Whilst a person with authority will seek to get others to work towards a goal, a leader works towards that goal himself or herself and in doing so silently urges others to also get involved. This is made possible only when people are able to realize the importance of what the leader is doing and identify with his or her personal inspiration.

    Supervising people to achieve a goal may be seen as being a leader but after going through the paragraphs above, you should be able to differentiate between a true leader and a person who has been given authority.

    A true leader vs. an authoritative figure.


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