When we talk about power and authority in leadership, lots of people tend to interchange these two words. These two terms refer to two different aspects of leadership. Authority is granted but power is earned. Power comes from a personal influence. Successful leaders are persons with high level of personal power. Leader with power has the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others. Leaders who are at the same position of authority can have different amount of power. A person can have authority but no power or possess power but has no authority. Power does not depend on position, rank or title. It is the ability to motivate others to take specific actions to achieve the goals.
Dwight D. Eishenhower, former president of United States, said that leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want it done because he wants to do it. Effective leaders will use power they earned to build trust, cooperation which people are motivated to pursue their own goals and the goals of organization. Effective leaders who have the power, even though they might not have authority any more. People will still trust and listen to them.
Dr. Ken Siegel, president of The Impact Group, Inc. explained that power is coming from within the person and it is self-originated. True power is an earned power. Great leaders with power are credible and knowledgeable. In the ancient Greek, power means dunamis [duvnami”]); inherent power or ability. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Dunamis can refer to “moral power and excellent of soul.” The biblical description of power relates primarily to God and people. Power is an inherent characteristic of God (Rom 1:20). It is the result of his nature. As Christians, we don’t live our life in our own power. God makes us able to accomplish things. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
The power given to us is dynamic. It gives us the capability to change or being changed. An effective leader who has a dynamic power will have positive attitude and full of energy and new ideas. He will focus on positive change and know that the true measure of leadership is not found in an individual, but the individuals’ development in his team. A leader who has a dynamic power understand that leadership is a process not a position. He will seek for more knowledge and experience to improve his leadership skills, because he knows that leadership is defined by daily actions rather than the title attached to him.
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