Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Asserting your authority, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
In your first few weeks as a leader, you have some seemingly opposing goals. On the one hand, you must establish quality rapport with your team. You have to create open communication and be seen as genuine and authentic. On the other hand, you have to establish that you're the boss. You have to clarify real goals and expectations. And yes, you need to find a proper way to assert your authority. In reality, they're not competing goals. Let's talk about what authority means and then consider a few ways you can assert your authority in a productive and just fashion.
Authority is seen as the legitimate right of a person to exercise influence and make decisions. For example, managers typically have the authority to assign work, hire employees, or order materials and supplies. However, just because you have authority does not mean life is now easy. You need to understand how to use authority effectively. As a new manager, keep in mind these helpful tips. Start small. You have a choice as a new manager when it comes to asserting authority. You can do a cannon ball and jump in the deep end of the pool or you can politely stick your toe in the shallow end.
When you look at the team and you view things you wish to change and improve, your best bet is to start with a small and measured target. Gain success there and then build towards larger targets. Another great strategy is to leverage your authority by co-opting key employees involved in the issue. Co-opting refers to turning a potential detractor into a supporter. If you can predict a person or two who might present a challenge later, talk to them now to gain their input as a means of avoiding future conflict.
You might even consider putting them on the team. Finally, a classic way to enhance the effectiveness of your authority is to find at least one pro-employee change you can make in the first few weeks of your tenure. For example, you might cancel a work attire policy the employees don't like. Or, you might change a vacation policy in a way they desire. A quick win like these shows employees that you sincerely see their needs. Under these conditions, they are much more likely to support you on other unrelated decisions.
Authority is your right to act, but strangely, it's not always easy to use. Just because you have authority, doesn't mean they will follow your orders the way you want them to. Use the tips we've discussed to make sure your authority actually supports great team performance.
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- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.