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New you - Taking Authority

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Taking authority in whatever area of our live is one of those things we can easily struggle with. We may struggle because we don't think we are well qualified or we think we don't know what it takes to assume those roles. Sometimes it could even be that we think we could but as we stepped into it people and circumstance affect our thinking and that impacts how we assume necessary authority on that role.

Lets make a few things clear and one is that authority is not a second name for dictatorship. Authority is also not a means to abuse, misuse or undermine people. Assuming authority requires us to make the best use of the people around us and when we are able to do this well, we get a really good return. However, a good return will require the necessary investments.

Authority is also not a word that is very popular in our vocabulary these days - it seems everyone wants to just get along on the same level with no one really making the decisions or taking accountability because it seems too risky to stand out or take control over something. Children want to be left to their devices with little guidance, government officials forget they are accountable for their actions by virtue of the public office they hold. We come into situations where we talk about things but even after all has been said little is done because no one is taking accountability.

When King Solomon assumed rule after his Father David's death in the book of 1 Kings 4, one of the first things he did was to appoint chief officials and district governors to take charge over the affairs of his kingdom. Solomon also applied this wisdom in the building of the temple, where he ensured sufficient appointment of stonecutters and carriers. These individuals where placed strategically to align with a system of working and reporting back to Solomon regularly.

This suggest it is important to have some sort of working system in place for separate functions of a whole to work together toward a common purpose no matter how different they are. Solomon appointed secretaries, a commander in chief, a priest and advisor to the King, a palace administrator etc. In consultation with these individuals a working system for reporting and managing affairs would have emerged and within this working structure the allocation of accountability.

Its hard for authority to be established where an assignment has not been given. It is in the giving of an assignment a person, a body, a function is made accountable. Just as it is hard for authority to be established without a system or structure in place, it is hard for authority to be effective where there is little accountability.

I think another crucial factor in perfecting authority much as we may not like to hear this is the correction or discipline that comes from having done things wrong. When workers circumvent the rules they should be a reprimand or some punitive measure - some of you might be shaking your head at that. When a child has gone wrong they need to be cautioned so that next time they think carefully before they act. This helps to bring the activities in the system in line and the objectives we desire to achieve become attainable.

Essentially, there are three factors that need to be in place for one to effectively establish authority

- Systems or structures

- Accountability within those structures

- Corrective measures when things don't go as they should

Lets bring this back to the home front...

This may seem simple in terms of application but nothing is ever that simple. when we consider the home front for example we know that our authority as parents is also effected by external operating systems, systems outside of the home that influence the minds and attitudes of our children etc. These systems overlap with the training of our children....some of these systems are contrary to our beliefs or core values and sometimes may appear to undermine our authority as parents. A child wakes in the morning and knows there is a routine to their day and it is difficult for them to be effective or know what is right to do if there isn't one and where there isn't one the parent struggles to ensure the things that need to be done are done at the time they should be done.

In the work place you might have a colleague who constantly bulldozes into your area of work or refuses to consult you on your area of responsibility, this clearly undermines your authority because that has been marked as your area of authority and if this continues to happen without correction you cannot take authority and you cannot properly account for the things that happen in this area you have been designated.

This is what I am learning about Authority as well. It is also established in the revelation of your own vulnerabilities in a brave space, a space that is willing to be honest, constructive and solution oriented about the existing challenges. Take for example, Moses struggling with all of Israel's tribe problems when they got out of Egypt and had crossed the red sea, He was met by his Father in law who saw his dilemma and advised him to distribute his work load by choosing responsible officials to help in administering to the people. This put Moses in a stronger position of authority.

The mind of the individual in authority influences strongly as well because systems can be improved or can deteriorate depending on who is watching or keeping them. people can be led to do what is right or what is wrong depending on the policies or rules in place...if a government provides only side roads for bicycles well obviously there will be no cars driving on the road. If filling stations provide only diesel there will be no petrol cars on the road, if schools teach only maths children in schools will learn very little about geography or other cultures of the world. Authority and rule have significant influence on the minds of those that function within it. Have you ever considered who is in authority over your life? Or the powers ruling over a particular area? How does that influence your living?

In establishing authority we should embrace our strengths, there is a reason why that area of function or even child has been given to you to tend to. It has been given because you have unique strengths that enable it or them to strive and be all they are meant to be. So what ever the struggle it is important to understand you have what it takes to actively take authority in that situation, to influence positively and come out successful.

Be blessed.

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