Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with leaders in a vast array of industries. It’s always intriguing to observe how leaders, both new and seasoned, respond to the possession of authority. I’ve seen just about every reaction you could expect to find.
Some leaders are wise enough to use their authority as just one of the many tools at their beck and call in achieving specific goals for their organization. Others allow authority to go right to their heads, flaunt it openly, alienate everyone involved, and, as a result, suffer profusely.
Here’s an age-old Generational Gem that illustrates the negative consequences of misusing the potent power of authority.
“Show Him Your Badge”
A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher says, “Okay, but do not go in that field over there,” as he points out the location.
The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, ” Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.” Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. “See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish … on any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?”
The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.
A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life, chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull ….
With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he’ll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs …
“Your badge. Show him your BADGE!”