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Authentic Power

“Authentic power is the real deal. You can’t inherit it, buy it, or win it. You also can’t lose it. You don’t need to build your body, reputation, wealth or charisma to get it.” - Gary Zukav 

by Judy Ryan

Do you trust people to want and choose to be caring and accountable without coercion? Do you make it your mission to develop their initiative or to control them instead? Consider today’s research. The following quotes are from an article titled “The Rise of American Authoritarianism,” written by Amanda Taub, and describe why we are seeing a rise in popularity for a candidate like Donald Trump. My article is not about Donald Trump or politics; it’s about authoritarianism and my experiences with my clients.

Authoritarianism — not actual dictators, but rather a psychological profile of individual voters that is characterized by a desire for order and a fear of outsiders. People who score high in authoritarianism, when they feel threatened, look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary to protect them from outsiders and prevent the changes they fear.

Authoritarians are thought to express much deeper fears than the rest of the electorate, to seek the imposition of order where they perceive dangerous change, and to desire a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force. They would thus seek a candidate who promised these things. And the extreme nature of authoritarians’ fears and of their desire to challenge threats with force, would lead them toward a candidate whose temperament was totally unlike anything we usually see in American politics — and whose policies went far beyond the acceptable norms.

I often see a polarization of ideologies when I’m working with various leaders. Some are eager to find an alternative to authoritarianism, and others cling to it with a death grip. At LifeWork Systems, we provide an approach that sets aside authoritarianism in favor of a mentoring model that promotes the fostering of personal power. Leaders are asked to hold a positive view of those they lead and develop their initiative because of a belief that people are and want to be great. To some, this approach evokes fear, because it challenges long-held beliefs that people need to be managed using control-driven methods. We show them the high price paid for the authoritarianism approach and a viable alternative.

In the article referenced above, researchers from Amherst and Vanderbilt shared findings and predictions from back in 2009 that a presidential candidate like Trump would surface at this time. What I found particularly significant is that to identify authoritarianism, they asked four questions. Consider them and see whether you are prone to develop compliance in people or commitment. The questions: Which are more important for a child to have: 1. Respect for elders or independence? 2. Obedience or self-reliance? 3. To be well-behaved or to be considerate? 4. Good manners or curiosity?

Your answers to these help you recognize your general psychological paradigm. If you chose the first option in each question, you likely favor authoritarianism and will use external motivation (fear, incentives, judgment) versus development of internal motivation (purpose, values, and emotional and social intelligence.) One of these approaches motivates accountability, integrity and care for others even when no one is there to oversee behavior. We call it a responsibility-based approach.

Putting down control systems and choosing to develop leadership in others enables the very collaboration needed in our world. Then you build courage and create environments where everyone feels empowered, lovable, connected and contributing. It is my joy to help leaders master development of personal responsibility in others so that each can effectively manage their relationships, work ethic and passion for life. When they do, commitment to good; trustworthiness; and proactive, caring behaviors become the norm. These leaders develop other leaders who strive to make all their interactions conscious and loving, and it’s evident in word and deeds.

Owners and leaders hire Judy Ryan and Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace. Judy’s book, “What’s the Deal With Workplace Culture Change?” is available FREE at You can also contact Judy at 314-239-4727. 
Submitted 5 years 171 days ago
Categories: categoryThe Extraordinary Workplace
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