How to establish your authority at work is one of the most important jobs as a new supervisor or manager is to establish your authority amongst the team and the other management. Authority does not come from doing or enforcing things that are expected from a person in a position, but it is an ability to move people, using resources and ideas to make decisions that are best for the organization and its employees.
But, why is establishing authority that important? Gallup’s study has found that 70% of employee engagement variance is because of their interaction with the superior, hence, if you show good authority that inspires your team then your team will also reflect that. Furthermore, establishing authority is necessary to deal with conflicts within a team, push back from the team, and dealing with petty issues resulting from envy and hard feelings.
Now, how to establish this authority? An effective and powerful hack is to make a small change and stick to it. This change should be small and directed toward some improvement within the organization. The reason to start small is simple because it will be easier to teach other team members to do it, with little resistance from them. This works exceptionally well because of two good reasons, first, you create an improvement that makes things easier for team members, hence they respect your decisions, secondly, it communicates that you are resilient with your decisions and expect your team members to be resilient too.
A great example could be that, a new accounting manager who found out that their organization has over $1 million in unpaid invoices owing. The manager could come up with a small change to the invoice system that would prevent this from happening in the future and asked permission from superiors and help from accounting team members to set it up. And when the change was proven to be effective, the manager shares the credit with the account team.
And if the upper management might ask the new manager to clear unpaid invoices, the accounting team will be more happy and willing to work on the new manager’s authority. Hence, the authority in the upper management, the accounts team gets elevated because of the small change.
Bonus tip: Try to know your team members (including their strengths, weaknesses, interests) as much as you can as it builds the necessary trust to boost genuine authority.