As we have witnessed the decay of moral fiber in America, it's not hard to also notice a simultaneous withering away of respect for authority. Ask a schoolteacher, a police officer or any manager about the degeneration of respect for authority.
Authority is questioned, ignored and even mocked.
We can recall that the leadership of Jesus was questioned as well.
"They came again to Jerusalem, and as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority to do them?" (Mark 11:27, 28).
This reminds me of hearing a five-year-old wailing at a store clerk who took away a toy from the little darling, "You can't take that from me! You aren't the boss of me. Give it back!"
Even the "boss of him" struggled to recover the toy.
Servant leaders walk a slippery slope in making claim to the ownership of authority. While organization charts can define how authority SHOULD flow, we have all observed how the influence of an informal organization can whittle away at formal authority.
The goal of a strong leader is to align the informal and formal flow of authority. Alignment is likely the strongest test of leadership.
Consider an analogy of a sheriff who upholds the law without the use of a gun. Maybe it only worked on The Andy Griffith Show, but Andy showed that good leadership made it easier to submit to authority.
Here are four ways to help with authority alignment:
1. Make fewer statements, ask more questions. Jesus answered the questions about His authority by asking questions.
2. Be more inclusive. When we treat our team like mushrooms, the light may never reach them. People in the dark tend to reject authority. Light leads to understanding and compliance.
3. Over communicate. Write it. Speak it. Repeat it. Draw on the walls if necessary.
4. Celebrate team wins. When teams win, leadership tends to have an easier time with authority. Sports teams love their coaches as long as the team is winning. Authority dwindles in losses.
Leaders help people love authority.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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