leading with authority, leadership development, leader training


What It Truly Takes to Develop Leadership Authority

By: Anne Dranitsaris
March 15, 2019 
  3 min read 

It seems authority has become a dirty word in organizations. Through our experience working with leaders in our development programs and coaching, it is clear that leaders today are not feeling empowered to exercise authority. We believe its not a lack of empowerment but a lack of skills and confidence that has leaders muting their natural instincts.

Acting Like Leaders

Without effective development, leaders are forced to act like leaders using an adaptive leadership behavior persona because they don’t know what else to do. These fear-based patterns can be either autocratic behaviors (control, dominance, yelling, devaluing or dismissing others, self-promotion, etc.) or permissive behaviors (sabotage, procrastination, excessive inclusion, self-devaluation, etc.) or any other ways you’ve learned to “play it safe.” Regardless of which persona a leader uses, it ultimately undermines their effectiveness.

Becoming Conscious of Leadership Behavior

Learning to be a leader who is Leading with Authority involves peeling off layers of ego, self-deception, self-inflaction and adaptive behaviour so that you can emerge, honestly and with integrity. It is requires you to have conscious awareness of how best to use your emotions, skills, interpersonal intelligence and experiences. Leading with Authority means:

  • learning to reflect on feelings and subjective experiences and be comfortable discussing them with others.
  • becoming honest about how you behave in relationships and how you guard yourself against feeling vulnerable and authentic (self-protective, ego-driven behavior).
  • recognizing the dysfunction you have created in your team, function or organization by not leading in alignment to your values and set about to make changes.
  • confronting the way you avoid interpersonal conflict and emotional discomfort and make excuses, blame others or rationalize your behavior.
  • developing empathy and caring about what employees experience emotionally and factoring feelings into your decision-making process.
  • developing a long-term strategy inclusive of social mission, employee development investment and engagement.
  • learning that a successful bottom line doesn’t mean the people you lead are thriving or you are happy. 

Achieving Your Leadership Potential

Leading is a human development process. It’s not something you can learn at a course or by reading a book. Leaders are, after all, human beings first, who engage in the act of leading to fulfill their roles. Your development as a leader starts with unravelling the mystery of your personal psychology — the mechanics of the mind, your unique abilities, your self-protective behavior and adaptive ego patterns — so you know where you are growing from. Developing leadership authority and potency is a commitment to fully realizing your potential as a leader.


Caliber Leadership Systems is a Toronto & San Diego based firm specializing in behavioural change and leadership development. The co-founders have written over a hundred books on personality development, behavioural change and achieving potential including Who Are You Meant to Be? and So, You Think You Can Lead?

Originally Published on Anne Dranitsaris’ Ph.D. LinkedIn Account – March 11, 2019