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Career Corner
How to Show Authority At Work
Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Being taken seriously is an important ingredient for being successful in the workplace. Managers look to these people to be dependable and competent of handling any task. 

Usually, those who show confidence in taking on more responsibilities will have better chances of moving up in the company and making bigger bucks.

If you're wondering how to become the big man on top you can't get there by acting like the little guy down below.

This is where the saying, "you gotta fake it 'til you make it" comes in. To get authority, you gotta show it. When you make people believe that you're in command of your duties, and then some, you won't be faking it anymore.

1) OWN UP TO YOUR AUTHORITY.

Each person is charge of something and the key phrase there is "in charge." You are just as much a part of the team as anyone else but it's up to you to prove it.

Show your manager and your coworkers that you've not only earned your place but are up for the challenge of surpassing expectations.

2) HAVE AN ANSWER EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW IT.

There's nothing that shows incompetence more than when you don't seem to know what's going on. Incompetence will translate to others that you are not a leader thus people will not take you seriously. 

Instead, when you're faced with something that you don't have an immediate solution to, say something that gives the impression that you still know how to handle it.

One response example is, "You've brought up some good points, and I'll get back to you once I've thought it over." This lets you get smoothly transition out of the conversation.

3) KEEP A COOL HEAD.

When you lose control of your emotions, you lose control of everything else. Authority and control go hand in glove. People who are unpredictable cannot be relied on. In any situation from bad to catastrophic, you should always have a practical approach. People trust this kind of thinking because it takes a lot to stay calm under pressure.

Along with that, you also need to make sure to not be intimidating to your colleagues, this shows a lack of professionalism because you're demanding respect rather than earning it. Part of be having authority is being approachable.

4) HAVE YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.

It's difficult to juggle making important decision when concerned with how it will affect your popularity. When you're at work, doing your job needs to be your main focus. Your mind can't be clouded by others' judgments when making business decisions.

In reality, not everyone is going to agree on the same thing. Being serious about your job comes from taking the necessary measures required.

5) MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR.

Authority comes in an entire package and its all comes together in the delivery. Your tone of voice should sound like you know what you're talking about, even if you're not 100% sure of something. If you want people to look to you for answers your responses cannot come out sounding like questions.

6) ENJOY THE SILENCE.

Or at least be confortable with it. People who get nervous by silence can't take the uncertainty and rush to fill it with sound. Be confident that the pause in the conversation is due to the other person waiting for you to say something.

In this case, take advantage of having the upper hand by easing into your response and make what you say add to your appearance of authority. Silence can sometimes work in your favor.

7) ERASE "UM" AND "I THINK" FROM YOUR VOCABULARY.

It's hard to exude authority when you struggle with communicating clearly. This is just another part of the package where your words need to back up your authoritative tone, otherwise you'll lose the entire effect.

The way you say things will get people to listen so you need every word they listen to to count.  Get through each word one nice and steady so that you're sentences won't come out jumbled.

8) HANDLE ISSUES HEAD ON.

Shying away from a situation shows a weakness in your ability to take initiative in solving a problem. Things can't fix themselves so if there's an issue that calls for your attention, give it. Putting it off only turns it into a bigger problem.

Figuring out a solution on your  own usually doesn't take much more than putting some thought into it. Once you've taken it care of it, people will more than likely take note of, if not be mpressed by, your ability to turn a negative into a positive.


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