Published here September 2003. 

Abstract | Introduction | Change Management and Project Management 
Sources of Authority | Managers, Champions and Agents
Practical Lessons Learned | Summary

Sources of Authority

Someone only has authority if we choose to recognize it. Building a high performance team is all about developing levels of trust and understanding and having the team establish the types and levels and distribution of authority within its ranks. It is about the distribution of authority.

Authorities vested in the ideal project manager

  • Structural authority: comes with the job title of project manager - a given
  • Personal authority: the perception given as the person looks, acts, and dresses as a manager
  • Expertise authority: recognition of the individual's superior knowledge (usually technical)
  • Moral authority: acceptance because the person appears to make the right (moral) decisions
  • Charismatic authority: evident leadership ability, charm, likeable and well spoken

From the above, we see that authority changes with context. These days, no one can really demand authority, and a smart manager knows when to defer to one of their team members that may have more "innate authority " in a given instance. We would know this as "delegating authority ".

Change Management and Project Management  Change Management and Project Management

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