How a Chief Scientist of the 'Disney World' of Technology Fosters Leadership Success

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Dr. David Pittman describes his job as helping to "discover, develop and deliver new ways to make the world safer and better every day." Then he adds, "It's kind of like Disney World for engineers and scientists ... the biggest difference is at ERDC [Engineer Research and Development Center] the magic is real."

As a chief scientist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, serving directly under a three-star general, Pittman is a powerful player protecting the United States.

But upon a notable promotion, Pittman encountered a difficult challenge: leading the very people who had trained him. Through this process, he learned the difference between formal authority and moral authority.

When you have a title or particular position, people must follow you because you have formal authority over them.

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But when people want to follow you, you have moral authority.

Pittman recommended listening and respecting others to add moral authority to any formal role you may hold. Treat those under your leadership in a way that shows you care about their future. When you can combine moral authority with formal authority, you have a winning combination.

Pittman defined success as the place where preparation meets opportunity. If you are a young leader, this episode of Life as Leadership on the Charisma Podcast Network is full of great insight for you to set yourself up to be successful leader.

Want to know what some of today's top leaders think is the one thing you should do this week? Download the free Leadership Action List for a year's worth of weekly action steps you can take to become a better leader.

Josh Friedeman helps leaders live and lead well through leadership coaching. He hosts the Life as Leadership podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. If you want to operate at a higher level with your team, sign up for a free leadership strategy session with Josh.

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