Dependable authority

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…you lead a gathering and manage yourself and your projection alert is working fine.

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{{{wish full}}}


  • Anytime you assume authority, people test your dependability.
  • The more emotional the agenda, the tougher your dependability will be tested.
  • It is your job to keep your head, not take things personally, be patient and not too full of yourself—in short, make friends with anxiety.
  • Authoritarianism and legitimate authority are two entirely different things and we struggle to bridge the vast gap between them.
  • The more you immerse yourself in authority dynamics—the universal experience of leaders and the led-the easier it will be for you to avoid trapping yourself with your own power.
  • As leader, facilitator, or content expert, you assume a position of authority—like it or not, you draw projections.

The payoff comes when you learn to trust steadfastly that when you hang in long enough, no matter how disquieting the agenda, you will be doing the best you can.


Respond briefly to dependency. Get a subgroup for counterdependency. Deflect direct attacks. Tell yourself silently that you are doing the best you can every minute, no matter what happens. Give yourself a break. Become self-aware when you bark orders, judge comments, use sarcasm, roll your eyes, talk too much, repeat yourself, cut people off, rush to finish, and/or [add your own worst habit]. Develop the habit of changing habits—pick a habit, drop it just once, and see what happens. Identify for yourself, without acting on it, one projection that you are making on others. Recognize one projection that comes from the group toward you. Let it go by if you can.

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You can work to become a dependable authority and hone the following skills:

  • recognize authority projections when they come at you;
  • stay alert to ways you stimulate authority projections;
  • deflect authority projections;
  • keep your own projections in check;
  • respond appropriately.