You’re a middle manager…a supervisor, manager, or director. Something is happening (or not happpening) that isn’t working for you. You KNOW that if you don’t do something, trouble will arrive. The work will be late or done wrong. The business will be harmed and your career won’t be helped! What do you do? You shift power or authority.

Shifting power & authority is the leadership solution to any performance problem. Power means your personal power. The stand you take. The position you give in on. Authority means structural power. The formal authority you give or take on a given job or task responsibility. Delegate. Takeover. Empower. Disempower. You decide and you get others to agree.

You need to be flexible about power & authority in order to get the result you want. This is the main obstacle for many leaders – their inability to be flexible. Some leaders want to be in control, preferring to be hands on and often unnecessarily so. Some leaders don’t want to be in control, preferring to hand off the work and let their people sink or swim.

A manager asked his supervisor if she could get her staff to complete a clean-up job in 4 hrs. The normal time needed was 8 hours. So she agreed to do it. Four hours later, it was obvious it wasn’t going to happen. The supervisor unilaterally called in her staff and said, “STOP!” She recognized that the people were suffering and the task was impossible. She showed a very wise use of her power to get a result that was achievable and sensible.

When a leader learns to be flexible, he or she learns how to shift their use of power & authority to fit the people situation AND the business goal. To learn more, go to