25 June 2008

Accepting Authority at Work

Do you accept authority at work or do you balk when someone tries to tell you what to do? Does it depend on who is asking or the way that you are asked? We all have to accept some kind of authority at work – how are you handling it?

Because I told you so

We didn’t like it as children when our parents told us to do something and the only explanation was “because I told you so”. We want to know why, but sometimes at work we don’t have time to explain the whys. Here are some ways you might try to get better results when delegating work:
  • If you have a big project to pass on or need something done right away, ask the person what is on their plate. Don’t just walk up and tell someone what to do without finding out what other projects they might be handling.
  • Give a deadline when you need the task completed by so they can prioritize their workload.
  • Always take the time to say please and thank you. There is never an excuse not to be polite, even if you have to go back after a stressful work situation and say it later.
  • Encourage questions. Don’t just drop off the work and not stick around for questions. You want to make sure the instructions are clear.
  • Asking in person or by telephone for a big project is ideal, followed up by an e-mail to have something in writing.

You are not the boss of me

If you are passing on work to others, have you been given the authority to do so? It is important that staff know what your role is and it will be better received. I was recently discussing what being a supervisor meant and someone told me it was being a team leader and a mentor, which I thought described the role well. A good boss will lead by example and then it won't seem so hard to accept the authority that has been given to them.