An individual in authority makes use of power in order to get people on side or to undertake an activity with him or her. Such a person has the backing of whatever laws or rules are there and therefore they are able to get others to perform their part in achieving a particular objective. By contrast, a leader gets people to perform a task or embark on a journey out of their own interest. These people are able to identify with whatever the leader is doing and as such make conscious efforts to work towards the same goals as the leader in order to achieve set objectives.
Authority comes in various forms and can be seen by the way a particular person exerts his or her power on others. A leader allows those who follow to make their own choice: This is the most significant distinction between a leader and someone who has authority. A leader always ensures that his or her followers make their own choice to follow his or her lead without being forced or asked to do so. Anyone in your business can become a “leader” irrespective of their formal role within the firm. Just because you have a formal title of “manager” does not mean you are a leader. Here are a few leadership tips:
Have a clear vision
If you don’t know where you are heading, how will you know when you have arrived at the destination? Put differently, it is essential that you create a clear vision of what you want the team to achieve so that it can be understood by everyone.
Learn to be a good listener
You are the leader and have many ideas, opinions and solutions. Your team know this but also want to be able to offer their views and feel like they have been heard. A good leader recognises this and focuses most of their communication on listening.
Be someone who makes decisions
As a leader you need to weigh up the upside and downside of any particular option and then decide. Team members may not always support your decisions 100% or may not have taken exactly the same decision. On the other hand they will respect you for making a decision and doing so quickly.
Empower your team
One of the big advantages of a team is the range and variety of skills and experience that is available. You know what you are good at and not so good at, so empower those to do what they do best.