Authority in the team – theory and practice

How a manager can gain authority in the team: working tips with examples

Forming a team is the first step on the way to successful work, but a manager must not only select experienced personnel, but also gain authority. Building internal communication relationships, gaining authority with subordinates and exhibiting professional flexibility are factors that condition the viability of a management strategy. We tell you about the methods that help the manager to gain authority in the team, and ways to help avoid the aggravation of internal relationships.

What is the authority of the head, when you need to win it

The authority of the manager is a positive opinion about the suitability of a person for the position held, which is shared by employees. The authority of a manager consists of several factors which have a direct influence on the nature of the opinion of the subordinate personnel:

  • general assessment of management decisions made;
  • the chosen leadership style: democratic, authoritarian, other;
  • the presence of administrative power and the ability to use administrative methods of management;
  • personal qualities and potential;
  • professional and social flexibility;
  • level of empathy towards the personnel.

The influence of the manager in the team often does not depend on the position held. For example, an online store has an actual owner who occupies a managerial position nominally, and he delegates the bulk of management responsibilities to an assistant or manager. In this case, the team will consider the head of the “gray cardinal” – an employee close to the owner and influencing a number of important decisions. The need to gain authority arises in the following cases:

  • the team is recruited from scratch, employees do not have business and social relationships both with each other and with the manager;
  • a high turnover of personnel, due to the specific nature of the work and the need to attract seasonal staff;
  • staff turnover, entailing the need to hire new employees.

The most difficult situation is when a new manager joins a well-coordinated team, for example, when buying a ready-made business. In this case, the new manager must depart from the principle “You don’t go to someone else’s monastery with your own rules,” but without excessive authoritarianism and the instant imposition of new rules.

The transition period associated with the integration of the new manager into the established team should go smoothly. If employees are used to an informal style of communication, coffee and a lounge area in the office, then a radical change in the format of work, the introduction of classic suits and other innovations will react very negatively: the situation will be out of control. Flexibility in decision-making and the ability to make concessions without harming the business are important qualities of the manager, which subordinates will appreciate, but will not perceive as a weakness.

Why is the authority of the manager so important, what impact does it have on business development

The quality of work of the team, the confidence of employees in all decisions made and the lack of desire to challenge them, the ability to influence the actions of subordinates depend on the presence of authority of the head. Optimization of work processes and establishment of hierarchy of subordination in the team takes place:

  • the manager does not have to apply administrative measures to employees who ignore the set tasks and their direct responsibilities;
  • less energy, time, nerves, and other resources are spent, which the manager can direct to the development of the business and the solution of both local and global issues;
  • the employees get a certain freedom of action, as the authority of the head has a beneficial effect on the microclimate and mutual trust among subordinates;
  • strict administrative measures are replaced by incentive systems: bonuses, bonuses, and corporate programs. All this stimulates the staff to work not only better, but also more;
  • resources for professional development remain;
  • the team becomes more effective and united, so there is no need to control it every second;
  • staff turnover is reduced, with the right management its rate can be only 5-10% per year, which depends on the number of employees and the scale of the business.

If there is no leader with authority on the team, another employee will take his place sooner or later. He will not occupy the actual position of manager, but will gain the trust of colleagues – informal leadership, which will cause local conflicts. To prevent such situations, it is worth using methods that allow you to gain trust and keep it throughout the whole activity, regardless of personnel reshuffles.

Methods for gaining the trust of the employees of the online store and other companies

Innovations – postpone for later

Beginning to work with a team that worked well before the arrival of a new manager, you should not be overly active regarding the implementation of innovations. Observational position can be from a few weeks to 2-3 months to determine the internal microclimate, social roles of staff (leaders, performers, others) and personal potential of each. At this stage there is no need to put pressure on the staff: observe, prompt and establish a relationship of trust, but with maintaining the chain of command.

On Equal Ground with Subordinates

Employees appreciate managers who don’t wave the management position around like a flag. A combination of leadership personality, empathy, and administrative rules yields positive results: the supervisor not only earns authority, but also trust, which stimulates a desire to work as a team. It is necessary to show the employees that the manager is with them on the same ship, the success of the voyage of which depends on the contribution of each person, regardless of the position held.

The carrot and stick method of human resources management

It is impossible to create a healthy microclimate in a team, using only penalties and other aggressive methods to stimulate positive results of labor activity. Distribution of “carrot and stick” is carried out in a 50/50 proportion: the best employees of the month receive bonuses and performance bonuses, the worst – a “bare” salary and an incentive to work more diligently.

Motivation methods that serve as a carrot function give the staff the opportunity to understand that the manager cares not only about achieving business results, but also about his subordinates. Hot lunches in the office, an opportunity to come to work with a child, a coffee machine, a rest room – these little things form a favorable environment, which indirectly affects the attitude to the manager and the overall effectiveness of the staff.

No strict framework

Lack of initiative and lack of opportunity to express their opinion without the threat of dismissal are factors that have a demoralizing effect on the staff. When trying to gain authority, the manager must take into account the opinions of all team members, as well as take into account rational suggestions. The final decision is left to the manager, but every specialist is entitled to his/her point of view: it is necessary to give the staff a certain amount of freedom, which will allow them to unlock their potential and get interesting ideas that can become points of growth. A liberal manager who supports the initiative of the staff will gain credibility faster than a dictator whose opinion is the final authority and not subject to discussion.

Always in Touch

Constant communication with the staff is an important element of trust building and encouraging commitment. The method under consideration does not mean calls after midnight, although they are acceptable in emergencies, but communication can be kept through messengers and even social networks. If the manager sets the work format from 9:00 to 17:00 and not a minute more, the employees will do the same, which will reduce the level of involvement.

Personal and work issues are equally important

A manager should handle both work and personal issues of employees equally promptly. You need to equate business processes with people’s needs in order to gain trust. For example, the plan for the month is signed within 10 minutes, vacation schedule or application for material assistance – at the last moment after repeated reminders. Such an approach would be regarded by the employees as neglect, and the attitude to the manager would be appropriate.

No favorites

The manager should not single out employees who show loyalty to him or who have already established a personal relationship. The presence of favorites separates the team and becomes a cause of conflict situations. Staff can be singled out and encouraged, but only for achievements in the work and other areas directly related to the field of professional activity. The manager should refuse friendly relations at work, if they exist – not to advertise them, to preserve subordination and not to undermine their authority.

Reasons why the manager will not be able to gain credibility

Many managers at the beginning of the managerial path make trivial mistakes that have a devastating effect on authority. Common mistakes should include:

  • Communicating with the staff with an overbearing attitude, which offends subordinates and does not allow them to relax when communicating with the manager. By the way, excessively familiar communication is also a bad choice, so you have to look for the golden mean;
  • Lack of attention not only to the workers, but also to the personal problems of staff, which may have an indirect impact on productivity. For example, large companies practice financial assistance to staff in case of force majeure (illness, injury, etc.), paid time off, opening mini-kindergartens – these projects are most often developed under the auspices of the head, who does not neglect the needs and problems of subordinates. However, it is worth preventing facts of abuse of kindness and loyalty;
  • excessive leniency in matters of non-performance of tasks, ignoring direct orders and administrative rules;
  • lack of programs aimed at staff development and implementation of motivation systems, mentoring.

Improper delegation and setting of tasks, uncertainty, excessive trust in the words and actions of staff can destroy authority. Closedness of a manager causes suspicion: he is poorly contacted, being at a distance from the team.

How to prepare the manager to manage the online store

The head, who has no real administrative skills and theoretical base, will experience difficulties in establishing relationships with staff. As part of your preparation, it’s worth reading business literature to help you get an excellent theoretical foundation:

  • “On the Same Wave: How to Manage the Emotional Climate in a Team,” by Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis;
  • “People Management Rules. How to Unlock Every Employee’s Potential,” Richard Templar;
  • “The Perfect Manager. Why You Can’t Become One and What It Means,” Itzhak Calderon Adizes;
  • “Authority. How to Become Confident, Weighty, and Influential,” Caroline Goyder.

You can develop the administrative and personal skills necessary for a manager with the help of courses and programs implemented by coaches. Do not forget about the methods that help to rally employees and establish mutual trust:

    – Team building, which includes a set of measures to relieve team tension and develop trust, group and solo skills, and responsibility;
  • corporate events, necessary for personal communication in an informal atmosphere;
  • regular anonymous surveys to determine the factors that cause irritation, discomfort and other negative emotions in employees.

A manager should not be a strict man in a perfect classic suit, who is always right. Employees appreciate lively emotions, absence of a pronounced social distance and excessive formality, preventing the full disclosure of working potential.

In conclusion

The authority of the head in the team – the Alpha and Omega of the successful functioning of the online store and other businesses. Do not make instant decisions: it is important to observe the team to identify informal leaders, determine the value of each employee and find common ground that allows you to quickly join the new environment. The deliberate emphasizing of a higher position or a paternalistic attitude that destroys the chain of command can be a point of no return. The manager should choose a natural model of behavior, to be guided by experience and sometimes act on a whim. Each team is different: there is no single formula for success, which will steadily work in any situation.

10 Failsafe Ways to Establish Authority

How do you gain authority with more experienced employees? How to manage subordinates, older in age? How to manage the “stars” and experts? How do you become a leader and get the most out of employees?

Photo: Tumisu, Pixabay

Pavel Sivozhelezov, an expert on management skills, CEO of the consulting company “Second Pilot”, a speaker for RBC-TV and an MBA program instructor spoke about this.

To begin with, let’s understand what authority of an executive is. It is influence without pressure, fear of upsetting you, respect for your interests, when subordinates see you as a valuable resource, your advice is valued.

Executive authority is what governs while you’re not around.

When authority is there, your decisions are trusted, they come to you for support, they rely on you to solve issues and problems, they listen to you, your orders and rules are followed and they demand it from others.

In what situations does the boss lose authority?

  1. I was appointed to a position – I discuss authority and goals with my boss.

Main problems: manager does not voice all expectations, does not give authority.

Solutions: clarify expectations, sell the idea of delegating authority.

  1. Getting to know each employee, building relationships.

Main problems: some perceive my appointment with suspicion or hostility.

Solutions: find out goals and concerns of employees, take into account later in goal-setting.

  1. Beginning to manage those with whom I was previously on an equal footing.

Main problems: they have developed a friendly relationship with them, and it is not clear how to translate them into a “supervisor-subordinate”.

Solutions: explain to them the role of the employee, behave from the role of the supervisor.

  1. Set goals for the team and employees.

Main problems: someone considers the goals unattainable or uninteresting.

Solution: follow the rules of goal setting.

Main problems: some consider it a waste of time. Many issues are discussed “off the top of my head”.

Solution: divide meetings into several types.

Main problems: meet resistance “I am overloaded”, “it is not my responsibility”, “give it to someone else”.

Solutions: to divide resistance into constructive and destructive, to work out each by scenario.

  1. Control over the execution of tasks.

Main problems: Some tasks are not completed. Someone didn’t report that they encountered an obstacle.

Solutions: make task control systemic, learn how to push them through.

  1. The employee did not finish the task, and the work time has come to an end.

The main problems: if I press the employee and he refuses, I lose authority. If I finish it for him, too.

Solutions: Conduct a review of the misconduct. The employee should feel punished.

  1. One of the employees is acting like a “star”.

Main problems: he thinks he may not comply with the general requirements. I do not dare to insist, and my authority falls along with the motivation of the others.

Solution: organize competition to the “star”. After being stripped of indispensability, demand compliance with the general requirements.

  1. One of the experienced employees comes into open confrontation with me.

The main problems: if in these confrontations in front of the team he gets the upper hand, I lose authority. Fighting takes a lot of emotion and energy.

Solution: either offer to stop the “hostilities” or initiate the process of separation.

  1. One of the employees is setting the team against me, but he will not admit it.

Main problems: I have no right to make a mistake and the team is divided into warring factions.

Solutions: inform the employee about his image that sets him against the boss; offer to change behavior, or you will part ways.

  1. Employees are late for work and for meetings.

The main problems: others resent why some can and others can’t. Too harsh punishments will be inadequate, too mild will not work.

Solutions: arrange deep unpleasant questioning or, if empowered, introduce a progressive scale of penalties.

  1. Employees do not comply with the established regulations.

The main problems: no order, the understanding that you can violate anything and everything with impunity.

Solution: revise regulations. They may be outdated, not fully implemented, or they do not contain well-thought-out control and sanctions.

  1. An employee has committed a transgression, and I need to respond so that it does not happen again.

The main problems: if you talk softly, it will have no effect, if you talk too harshly, it is demotivating.

Solution: to have an in-depth one-on-one conversation using the “Court is in session” technique.

  1. The employee made a mistake, it led to losses.

The main problems: if nothing is said to him, he will repeat mistakes. If you punish him, he will stop showing initiative.

Solution: conduct a debriefing on the error by the technology of “The trial is going on”. There should be conclusions, not punishment.

  1. The employee behaves inappropriately, I need to admonish him.

The main problems: if he gives me a hard answer, I might lose authority.

Solution: reprimand in the form of a question that puts the employee back in his role.

  1. The employee is always complaining and I spend a lot of time arguing with him

Main problems: The discontent seems to be reasonable each time, but it has to stop somehow.

Solutions: find out the reasons for discontent, to inform about the inadequately high costs to manage it. Demand that this behavior stop.

  1. An employee who is significantly older or more experienced than me does not perceive me as a manager.

Main problems: others see this and no longer understand who the manager is.

Solutions: respect his experience, but find his growth areas and require him to work on himself like everyone else. Don’t try to compete with him or her as a professional. You are the manager!

  1. I feel a lack of authority to apply the right measures to individual employees.

Main problems: they also see this and no longer take my demands seriously.

Solution: explain to your boss the benefits of delegating authority to you.

  1. I set new rules, but the employees don’t want to follow them.

Major problems: it is very difficult to balance the interests of the company and the employees.

Solution: have a problem meeting with all levels of employees.

  1. I want to increase demands on employees, but they don’t agree.

Main problems: once in their comfort zone, they are not willing to change anything, even under pressure.

Solution: make the increase gradual, accompanied by training. Soft in form, firm in content.

  1. I made a decision that the team considers ill-conceived.

The main problems: if you admit the mistake, you lose credibility, and if you do not admit it, they will be considered inadequate.

Solution: change the decision, but with some pause, so that they understand that you changed it not under their pressure.

  1. I feel that I sit on my neck, take advantage of softness.

The main problems: the situation is made up of concessions on minor matters, “turning a blind eye” to violations, finishing work for the employees. It is not clear how to fix it.

Solutions: in every such situation, include awareness and act as required by the role of the manager.

  1. The boss has set a task for my employee directly, without notifying me.

Main problems: this is the norm for the boss, but I am no longer perceived as a supervisor.

Solutions: talk to the boss about the consequences of such communications, explain that it is more profitable to set tasks through you.

  1. Employees communicate directly with my boss without informing me.

Main problems: I find out about it accidentally and I feel like an extra link.

Solutions: prohibit this behavior from employees, talk to my boss about sending employees straight to you.

  1. I did not punish the employee (although I should have) and I lost authority in the team.

The main problems: such situations can happen again, and how to fix it, it is not clear.

Solution: to master the technology “trial is going,” which will remove the fear of such negotiations with employees. Conduct a review of misconduct using this technology.

  1. A valuable employee wants to quit.

The main problems: his departure will bring problems, but the offer of a salary increase can be passed on to colleagues.

Decisions: Ask about what attracted him there, about his awareness of the risks of the new job, about what he would lose here. Ask on what terms he would stay.

  1. Employees have a conflict among themselves that interferes with work.

The main problems: if you ignore it, the work will stop. If you start and fail to resolve it, credibility will fall.

Solution: get employees together for a mediation session.

  1. I want to delegate a responsible function to an employee, but he doesn’t want to take it on.

Main problems: If he refuses, there is no one else to offer, and I will continue to drag everything on myself again.

Solutions: figure out the reasons, think about motivation and training; hire ambitious people.

  1. Implementing changes that are long overdue.

Main problems: there are those who openly oppose it. A large part of them sabotage silently.

Solution: implement changes using Kotter’s 8 Steps.

  1. I have decided to fire an employee, but he does not want to leave.

The main problems: if I fire him in violation of the Labor Code, he will be reinstated, and the company will lose money. If you don’t fire him, it’s easier to fire himself.

Solution: offer a deal – a good reputation in exchange for a statement. If it did not help, find a weakness and conduct a blitz-crunch.

  1. The employee asks for a raise, but I see no reason to do so.

The main problems: if you go along, others will want it. If you don’t, he gets demotivated and may leave.

Solution: put the employee in the role of the beggar; explain the technology of income growth in the company.

Now consider how to establish authority.

1. Democracy in decision making. First seek the opinions of employees, including the rank-and-file, immerse yourself in the process. Ask about risks and side effects. Take your time until you find the best solution.

2) Authoritarianism in solution implementation. When a decision is made, it should be implemented, not hang in the air. “There’s no time,” “I still think that,” etc., is no longer accepted. Decisions are brought to completion.

3. 100% rules = 100% life. Regulations and instructions are as short and clear as possible. Once every six months, update all regulations and instructions – 20% of the effort for writing them, and 80% of the effort for implementing them. If the instructions are not followed, employees are either not trained, or – weak control and no consequences for non-compliance.

4. Set interesting goals. Move from accomplishing tasks and putting out fires to setting goals, they should be for 1-5 years. Goals should be both ambitious and realistic. Everyone should understand what useful and interesting experiences they will have along the way to the goals.

5. Protect employees. Provide decent working conditions. Repair everything in a timely manner and provide resources. Take the wrath of the boss on themselves. Stand up for justice in conflicts with allied workers.

6. Stand up for authority. Sell the boss on the idea of delegating authority. Negotiate a phased transfer. If someone goes over their head, don’t leave it without consequences. If the boss goes over his or her head, firmly make the consequences clear to him or her.

7. Appreciate experience, but demand more. Ask experienced and senior employees for their opinion – set standards of performance and skills. Gradually lead to them – introduce new methods and demand their observance – do not take seriously the excuses “it’s not necessary”, “we won’t master it anymore”, etc.

8. Create alternative scenarios. The most productive employee may leave. What will you do? Your punishment may offend the employee. What’s the upside of that? Your innovation may be met with hostility. What will you do? Your boss doesn’t want to give you authority. Where will you go?

9. It is right to give feedback. If you don’t like something about a job you’ve done, say it right away, but not publicly. Praise the little things in the work, sincerely, immediately and publicly. If you don’t like the behavior, give feedback right away. Give feedback at least once a week.

10. Build connections, resources, competencies. Get more and more resources for the team from the boss. Take on challenging, interesting challenges as a team. Develop high level alliances. Learn and share knowledge.

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