By | Katie Douthwaite Wolf | www.themuse.com
Commanding the respect of an entire team isn’t easy. Even with the title of “manager,” you’ll inevitably have employees who question your authority—who answer your instructions with excuses, an endless stream of questions, or a blank stare.
This can be a challenge for anyone in a leadership position, but especially for new managers who may still be learning the ropes of their roles.
To be a successful manager, you have to learn to communicate with authority—so that your team takes you seriously, respects your leadership, and follows your direction.
Fortunately, learning to be a little more commanding doesn’t take a complete personality 180. You can learn to be more authoritative with a few simple communication techniques—ones that can completely change the way you’re perceived by your team.
1. Use Statements, Not Questions
To avoid becoming an order-spewing manager, you may fall into the trap of phrasing your instructions like questions: “Alex, can you take notes during the team meeting today?” or “Melissa, will you put together a PowerPoint for the client presentation tomorrow?”
On the surface, questions seem less confrontational than direct orders—but in reality, all they do is open you up to excuses.
Because you started with a “can you” or “will you,” your employee can easily answer with a “no,” plus whatever excuse he or she has on hand: “Sorry, I have no time today!” or “I’m not the best choice; I’m really not very good with PowerPoint.”
The better option is to state it directly (e.g., “Alex, I need you to take notes during today’s meeting”), which asserts your authority and provides less room for pushback.