This is a story of 2 bosses.

One bloke I worked for over a considerable period in two different corporations never told me exactly what to do. We agreed outcomes and the resources to achieve them, project time frames and milestones, and he was always willing to discuss, encourage, provide council, and play devils advocate, but never directed, but through the conversations, always knew exactly what was going on, and was engaged in the process. This left me with the responsibility for the outcome, and a personal commitment to achieve it.

The second bloke wanted to micro manage activity, providing a continuous stream of “advice” that were in fact instructions, which left me with no feeling of personal responsibility. I had the authority to get stuff done, but little engagement with the outcome beyond staying out of trouble, until we parted in mutualĀ frustration.

This recognition of the differences between authority and responsibility is more than a matter of style, it is the core of leadership, and success.