EIGHT POINTS ABOUT AUTHORITY BASED ON EQUALITY.
As strange as it may seem, it is possible for authority and equality to co-exist, as long as all those involved understand, and agree with, eight basic points.
- In a workplace based on equality, it is important to agree on what authority is. The word ‘authority’ has several meanings, and is often confused with the word ‘power’ because we use both in reference to attempts to control someone or something. Power and authority are also associated with having the right to impose conditions or make rules; and the right to dish out punishments for disobedience or non-cooperation. (Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness, Ch 2)
- Anyone in a position with responsibilities needs the authority necessary to carry out those responsibilities.
- There are two kinds of authority. One I call ‘dominant authority’ and the other ‘legitimate authority.’ Dominant authority maintains order by using the power to do harm and the willingness to impose sanctions. Legitimate authority maintains order through the power of persuasion and negotiation; it is the authority of peace-keeping associated with cooperation and collaboration.
- Dominant authority is attempting to have power over others. Legitimate authority is having power with others.
- Dominant authority is therefore imposed and ultimately relies on fear to gain compliance. Legitimate authority is freely given out of trust and respect for the authority figure and/or for the rule of law.
- Every member of a workplace has responsibilities and needs the cooperation of others to meet those responsibilities.
- Although people have different levels of responsibilities, meeting their responsibilities may be equally important to each person’s sense of job satisfaction, as well as to the overall success of the workplace.
- Every person in the workplace is entitled to equal respect and consideration, regardless of the position held.