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Misunderstanding Authority

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation Mistakes > Misunderstanding Authority

Description | Avoiding it | Taking advantage | See also

 

Description

Having authority is not the same as having power. Certainly, authority gives you some power, but it does not give you total power. Where you are accustomed to having people obey your orders without question, then it is easy to expect that whatever you say will be accepted by others. Even people who work for you have choice (they also have rights).

The trap of authority is hence in the blind belief in one's own capabilities that it gives. Managers can easily acquire a God complex, especially if they are surrounded with 'yes-people' who automatically acquiesce to all requests and believe that the manager is all-wise.

Avoiding it

When you have authority, know that this is vested in the position you have and does not make you all-knowing or all-wise. Also remember professional ethics. If you abuse your authority, it will come back to bite you, perhaps at a time and place when you least expect it.

Taking advantage

Where the other person has lost sight of the real power that they have, try giving them lots of rope in which they will entangle themselves. Get them to paint themselves into a corner. Make it a matter of status for them that they do what you want them to do.

See also

Misunderstanding Power, Authority principle, Power

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