Personal Authority in the Workplace (PAW)

The following set of self-differentiated leadership principles are excerpted from Fight, Flight, Freeze: Taming Your Reptilian Brain and Other Practical Approaches to Self-Improvement (Second Edition) by Gilmore Crosby. For ordering information visit:

Personal Authority in the Workplace (PAW)

PAW includes a high degree of clarity about one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires as well as the emotional freedom to choose whether or not to express these at any given moment or occasion, regardless of intense social pressures or expectations from bosses, peers, subordinates, or others.

PAW includes the ability to value one’s personal judgment consistently and to be able to make decisions and act on one’s own good judgment. This skill assumes the ability to be able at times to be an observer and critic of one’s own processes and responses.

PAW includes the ability to take responsibility for all of one’s experiences, decisions, and actions and for the consequences that flow directly from these. The underlying assumption is that one “decides” in which ways to give meaning to events. One is, therefore, constantly and continuously in the business of constructing a “personal reality:” one “chooses” an associated emotional response to every circumstance, “chooses” how to assimilate or internalize it, and “chooses” how to behave in light of these.

PAW includes the ability to connect emotionally with other people in as self-expressive and intimate a manner, or in as reserved a manner, as one freely chooses at any given time.

Finally, PAW includes the ability to relate to all other human beings as peers, including superiors and subordinates, while simultaneously respecting, clarifying, and supporting the positional authority, yours and theirs, essential to organizing work.

Adopted by Gilmore Crosby from the work of Donald Williamson

About crosbyod

Crosby & Associates OD is a catalyst for high performance & morale. Our methods are a unique blend grounded in research and decades of experience. In the spirit of Kurt Lewin, the founder of OD, as we partner with you in the present we transfer our methods to you so you are independent in the future. Learn more at
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