The title of CEO does not make a true leader. After all, there is an immense difference between being in power and having power. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and interdependent, and moral authority takes precedence over formal authority, business leaders must embrace the differences and change with the times.
Dov Seidman, the author of “HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything,” says we must understand how the world’s shift in power is affecting our conventional perception of “authority.” Command-and-control CEOs and managers who refuse to relinquish formal authority must understand that they too must change – or be left behind.
In both a recent interview with columnist Tom Friedman and in Seidman’s latest Fast Company article, he draws insights from the uprising in Turkey and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s failed moral authority, outlining lessons business leaders can learn from Erdogan’s overreach. Seidman provides three ways we can make, or re-make, ourselves into leaders whose power stems from moral, rather than formal, authority.
- Conduct a Moral Audit – Does your behavior mirror your rhetoric? Ask yourself what you stand for and from where you derive meaning – and seek to fill the gaps between your answers and your activities.
- Elevate Meaningful Connections Over Family or Institutional Connections – Leaders don’t gain moral authority by being elected; rather, moral authority must be earned. Lead by example and treat others with respect and you’ll strengthen your moral authority
- Extend Trust – In so doing, you’ll inspire increased collaboration, commitment and innovation among your employees.
Seidman encourages modern leaders to reject old-school methods of exerting power over people, and instead, collaborate around values-based missions.
Hear more of Seidman’s perspective on how to do business in a changing world from his appearance at The New York Times Global Forum: Thomas L. Friedman’s The Next New World.