I saw a little girl the other day, maybe four years old who was throwing a massive tantrum because she wasn’t getting what she wanted from her daddy. It was something minor, and as a parent you can usually tell when the tears are fake. This kid was milking it. Her dad (only once) said “no honey, we can’t have that” during the exhausting 20 minute tantrum. The rest of the time he looked around saying things like “she just doesn’t listen” “she’s going to win this one”. And, eventually she did. There was a sick look of satisfaction that crept across her face as she again took down this 30 something man. We could all see it, but he was at a loss, being too close to see (or not wanting to see) the truth. This child had Premature Authority, and it was ruining both she and her father. She was in charge and she knew it.
Being allowed to believe we are in charge too early can create a miserable situation for us, and every one else. Premature Authority often makes us miserable because nobody can ever get it right (after all, they are stupid, right?) and everyone else is miserable because you haven’t learned how to really work with people, you only know how to whine and demand. Too much authority too soon can be a bad thing.
It’s ok to work up the preverbal ladder. It’s ok to be an apprentice, an intern or a trainee. In fact, using that time to really form your ideas and skill sets will make you a much, much better leader in the end. Often the slow route is the fastest and most profitable in the end.