Authoritativeness is Won by Keeping Promises

One of the reasons employees do not do (or do badly) what they are asked to do is due to the lack of authoritativeness of those who ask them, often their boss.

Authoritativeness is a very important concept in companies, many cite it but many also do not have clear ideas about what it is in practice. Some would say (in part, even rightly) that to be authoritative it takes willpower, clarity of purpose, the ability to make charismatic speeches, of those who keep glued to the chair, and so on.

Unfortunately, believing (and wanting to convince others) that it is enough to be bold, gritty, determined, and free in speaking to automatically become credible people is a simplistic and reductive way of dealing with leadership. And, therefore, it almost always turns out to be ineffective.

In fact, if the leader is not a fool, he certainly knows that his authority does not derive from him nor can he improve it only through mental concentration and motivational speeches. This is because he is aware that to gain further credibility he will have to get involved by improving, gradually, other aspects of himself.

Because the role is not enough to be an authoritative leader. Just as charisma and willpower are not enough. In my opinion, leadership becomes authoritative when the leader puts himself in the conditions of being able to devote time and energy both to the management of problems and to relations with collaborators.

In other words, I think that authoritativeness is the result of presence and consistency as well.

In particular, I believe that what helps a leader to be credible is the fact that he is able to keep some promises, some of which I quote below by way of example, but not exhaustively.

Respect the tasks that he is called to fulfill due to the role he holds

In other words, the choices, decisions, and actions in the company are the responsibility of those who have responsibilities and coordination functions because they belong to their job. By contrast, in fact, whoever manages a work group must make decisions and undertake organizational and strategic actions; he must be able to analyze and deal with the problems that arise and be able to give adequate directives to all the personnel who depend on him. This means having two soft skills, in the form of two fundamental skills for exercising authoritative leadership: the ability to make decisions and the ability to solve even complex problems (problem-solving).

Another significant element on which leaders must reflect is the factor of consistency.

It is often said that people in organizations are subjected to a set of discordant messages that create great confusion and a situation of serious uncertainty in front of which the most prudent answer is “do nothing and wait” for things to be clarified, that the contenders come to an agreement, that the messages slowly realign themselves.

In reality, people simply do not go out of their way to compose their contradictions, to understand what the right message is, and in a nutshell, to replace their leaders. In order to be followed, however, it is necessary to take care of the consistency of the messages.

On the basis of my experience, the commitment he personally assumes in relation to problems, objectives, and situations, even if they do not directly concern him, counts a lot.

And here his personal attitudes come into play, the famous soft skills, precisely: how much, that is, he knows how to use skills such as context analysis, empathy, listening, the ability to communicate and create positive interactions, and so to become a credible and authoritative point of reference for the group. Relational and managerial skills can be learned and applied with the same effectiveness with people and in different contexts, but only if, upstream, the leader considers having time to deal with what is really important (and this is presence) and to do it with serenity: Good ratings and good decisions are never made under stress!

There is why it seems to me that what matters most is to be present and consistent with the decision taken: this means keeping promises and, therefore, strengthening one’s authoritativeness.

Comments are really appreciated! 


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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