Tag Archives: power and authority

Leadership Basics: Power vs. Authority

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Leadership – The ability or skill of influencing people to willingly follow you toward a common goal.

          The best Leaders in any capacity are, without fail, the best of servants to those they is leading. When we hear the word, “servant” we tend to think of a slave or a hired hand. In the case of leadership it takes on a much higher and more noble meaning. A servant leader is one who is devoted to meeting the needs of those he is leading

“If you are not willing to serve, you are not qualified to lead.

Power vs. Authority

Power – The ability or right to force or coerce people to do your will, regardless of their willingness to do so, because of your title, position, might or skill.

          Maybe you have heard phrases like: “Do it or else!” or “Do it because I said so!” or “Do it or you’re fired!” This is the use of power. Power forces people do your will. Power can be given and taken away. It can be bought or sold. People can attain a position of power by any number of unjust means. Not so with authority.

          The use of power has its place, but continued use of power will create tension and erode relationships. We can get a few seasons out of power, and even accomplish some great things, but it will eventually be at the expense of healthy relationships.

Authority – The ability or skill of getting people to do your will because of your personal influence in their lives just because you asked them to.

          We are all called to lead in some capacity. In our families, at our jobs, or maybe on a sports team. Although we may not see ourselves as leaders, we are all called to live a life that leads others to Christ.

          How we live our daily lives determines the amount of influence we have on those around us. When we are examples in speech, conduct, and character, we gain the confidence of others and create a desire within them to help us.

          Pastors and ministry leaders that work primarily with volunteers must be skillful in leading with authority because the use of power will quickly drive volunteers away.

          Authority grows as influence grows. As our influence grows, respect grows. Once we have earned respect our authority will begin to increase as long as we are consistent.

          Power can be handed from one person to another. Authority must be developed and maintained.

          When power is used consistently, resentment and discord will surely follow.

          Consistent development and use of authority is what builds lasting relationships and winning teams that cultivate the fruits of the Spirit.

JC