Lesson 16º








Authority versus persuasión

It is always debatable as to whether the leader should base his management on authority or on persuasion.

Both concepts are important. The leader has to be a person capable of using his authority and capable of persuading.

In most cases leadership should be based on persuasion: convince the subordinates that they have to act in a certain way.

A person gives more when they know what they are doing.

The employee will consider these decisions as his own and will feel more integrated in the organization (he will believe they care about him).

The leader should be an authentic expert in the art of persuading; he should be a convincing person.

When the leader tries to persuade he will exchange ideas with people: the leader exposes (sells) his objectives, he tries to convince, but he bears in mind the collaborator’s opinion.

However, in certain occasions the leader should use his authority and use it with determination.

If the team rejects the leader’s proposal, if it is a problematic group, in front of a crisis, etc. the leader should impose his authority even it if may be unpopular.

However, the leader should not abuse the use of his authority.

The employees know perfectly when his use is justified and when it is carried out on a whim.

In every case, his use of authority should go together with his great respect towards people.

The leader has the right to demand, to give orders, etc. What he doesn’t have the right to is abuse, tyrannize or humiliate people.

If the leader unjustly uses his authority it will negatively affect the union between the leader and his employees.

Nobody appreciates being continuously ordered about. The employees are over 18 years old and they generally know how to behave.

Receiving an order is not very motivating. The employee will probably ensure he carries out his tasks and not a lot more (he will do the minimum to avoid being punished).

When the management of a group is based on “ordering and commanding” it is credulous to try and get the employee to feel motivated, he will not be giving his best.

Over using authority (“because I said so”) creates a tense atmosphere that affects the integration of the staff with the company.

If the leader abuses his authority, his subordinates will do the same (but multiplied) with inferior levels, generating a tense atmosphere, sometimes unbearable.

On the contrary, if the leader promotes a participating management, this model will work better as it will extend to all levels of the company.

You have to reject the idea that basing leadership on persuasion and not on authority is a sign of weakness.

The work environment radically improves, people feel satisfied, they actively participate, with the will do to things.

It is necessary to know that even if you are managing using the persuasion method, you shouldn’t be demanding less.

In a competitive world like the one we live in, demanding a lot is essential if the company is to survive.

Demanding a lot doesn’t necessary demand acting like a tyrant.

Finally, to point out that although you are looking to generate a friendly and participating work environment, avoid unnecessary tension. The employees should have it clear in their minds that the leader will not tolerate, under any condition, the smallest amount of indiscipline.