There are leaders who do not respect authority.
Leadership is composed of several dynamics including authority, control, influence and inspiration. While the concept of control may be debatable in terms of how much, if any, an executive may actually possess, or his or her ability to produce sustainable benefits by exerting control, it is certain that the ability to influence, to inspire, is where sustainable results begin.
As healthcare organizations plow through the evolutionary challenges of healthcare reform, with rapid shifts in market dynamics, seemingly continuous reductions in reimbursement, and new pressures to produce lower cost and safer care, it can be so easy for a CEO to lose perspective. When the pressure is on, relying on control seems like the best solution to ensure that things get done. Influence seems too nuanced for a crisis. However, that is exactly when influence and inspiration are needed the most.
This is where authority comes in to play. Authority is neutral until it is used inappropriately or badly.
The best leaders I know establish their authority by being an inspirational influencer. Their employees respect their leadership because the leader respects and supports their efforts. The leader’s praise and admiration for his team nurtures their desire to achieve even more, to perform event better.
Too many leaders think leadership is more about strategic initiatives when it really is more about the soft-touch activities like influencing and inspiring.