A definition of authority is “the right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another”. People are not born with this power. Delegation of authority is necessary to have credibility. I learned this lesson the hard way. I thought I deserved authority because of my position. My early leadership style was one of demands of my subordinates, nothing more than a top down command driven fiasco, which no one respected. I am glad I now understand the power of being given authority.
We all have been given authority by someone
- Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth by God.
- Leaders are given authority to run a company.
- The government has been given authority by the votes of the nation.
The responsibility of authority
The bottom line: If a person has authority, they also have accountability. Here is an example of how this accountability works for me:
- I ask my team do take on a large problem.
- If my team succeeds, I give them the credit. It is due to their hard work and diligence.
- If my team fails, I take the blame for the failure. I authorized the plan, the work effort, and am accountable for the outcome.
I never want to misuse authority for personal gain. Instead, I want to be faithful in what was entrusted to me. Here are some verses in the bible that speaks about authority that are humbling to me:
Ephesians 6:1-4 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Psalm 32:8-11 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.