Many people dream, aspire and work hard towards becoming managers. It is an achievement to get that promotion. However, many new managers discover that their new job is much more complicated than they expected. But to be a “star” having credibility may be by virtue of one’s way of life in the organization even without authority. Authority is that right to give orders, direct and make decisions to enforce obedience within our organizations. Formal authority refers to a person’s position in the organization’s hierarchy and to his or her explicit “job description” of rights, privileges and responsibilities to guide work of others. Power on the other hand is the potential of an individual to influence others, it is rooted in personality.
When one bases on formal authority to have influence, they become “political”, and build “power bases”. Our church institutions consist of interdependent individuals and groups with divergent interests, like all secular organizations. Therefore, church leadership should figure out how to balance or reconcile these competing interests. We need to as well manage inter-reliance effectively, building mutual expectations, trust and inspiration within the diversity of the Laity, Religious and Clergy. Leading without relying on authority is a higher evolutionary skill. It supports developing adult relationships based on mutual objectives and creates personality. It is not always about having leadership positions that we matter in organizations.
We need to create self- positioning that one becomes a person of substance even to those with authority. Let us be persons with strong character, quite confident, assertive and ambitious. We have lived with some unwritten adage that Catholics are submissive and un-innovative. It is time for colleagues to start looking up to you as a role model hence influencing without authority. By the way, it is true that even those with formal authority seek persons below them to get inspiration. Besides formal authority, is gaining expertise. I would wish to urge the Laity not in positions of leadership whether in church or work places to be experts in certain aspects of life events.
Experienced people know how to do their work and coordinate colleagues efficiently. Expertise places us high to face end resolutions to challenges. It involves having content knowledge, understanding people and processes, being a pace setter and being accomplished. This will go with intelligence and competences. Intelligent people have a good amount of mental ability, learn quickly and can handle new situations as well as solving problems. They have right skills to speak without authority on the subject at hand, ensuring that others recognize the value of that competency.
Likewise, we ought to maximally develop: Networks. We should be persons who have contacts, are known in various circles, can provide links, and are always recognized and sought after. All these people we studied with, have worked with, attend church with; great people we have interacted with in weddings and seminars; let us always create a rapport and obtain their contacts. We may never know who to contact when a problem arises, and we do not need formal authority to be that person, for even bosses will seek our hand on these social issues. Importantly, humility must reign our life.
My own outstanding influence even when I do not have authority should not be used to undermine formality. I should promote the institutions to which I belong. The outcome is mutually beneficial. I urge us to put it out there; to be transparent, to always have no hidden agenda; always strive to be at the best, and to let it go; and to be a lesson that reflects into others.
Let us be a Catholic who influences others without having formal authority.
PROF. VINCENT BAGIRE
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