Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Authors increase (sorry, it erased again.)


After the past few days of reflecting and blogging on leadership, I was drawn to look into leadership and its relationship to authority. I think after some study and consideration I am beginning to see the connection.

"Authority" has not always been used in a negative sense. In these days, we see authority as something that suppresses license. However, if you follow the word's history of meaning, it becomes easier to see where this connection comes from. The etymology of the word "author" comes from the Latin "auctorem" which means "enlarger, founder, master, leader," lit. "one who causes to grow." In a sense of this word, the auctorem nourishes. Obviously, this presupposes he knows how to nourish and what to nourish with.

Another interesting tidbit is the Latin "auctorita" which translates as "authority or power." In English, we don't give nouns a gender, but many languages, including Latin, do. "Auctorita" is classified as a feminine noun. In a sense, this tells me Latin understood authority in a feminine sense as well. Which explains my next line of thinking.

According to Donald DeMarco, an authority on moral virtue, writes "Authority is connected with truth...if the leader has no involvement with truth, he has little of substance to offer those who follow him." How does this connect with the feminine "auctorita." Traditionally, truth comes from outside man and is in a sense received. This notion of reception and its relation to the feminine is also seen in other Latin words that are feminine like the feminine Latin word for "moon" and its reception of light from the sun. In this sense, the "authority" receives truth. As DeMarco stated, he must be connected to the truth and can therefore offer something to the followers.

Anyways, back to the main topic.

From what I am seeing, a leader needs to be an authority. I am not meaning in the power sense, but rather like "She is an authority on fitness." This kind of authority and its relation to leadership deals more with understanding truth so that the leader can offer what was seen in the traditional understanding as nourishment. This may explain why many desire a leader that enables, empowers, "make sure that other people's needs are being served," and that the followers "while being served, become healthier, wise, freer, more autonomous" as Greenleaf states.

Would you consider a leader an authority? Does the leader need to be an authority in the historic meaning of the word? If so, can a liar be leader? An insane person?

n.b. When trying to hyperlink my terms, etc., it is erasing, will work on it when I have more time.