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10 Tips for Becoming More Authoritative at Work

If you want to be taken more seriously at work, then it’s best to have the appearance of an authority figure.

Even if you’re in a leadership position such as being a business owner, manager, or just the boss for everyone within your department, it’s best to improve this appearance or else risk getting undermined. Now, being more authoritative and looking more authoritative doesn’t immediately equate to looking mean or yelling at people. It should never go that far, ever.

 Looking and acting more authoritative is a part of being professional and showing dedication to your work. It doesn’t have to involve making a statement of how you’re “above” someone or not as it does for many professions. Here are some tips for showing your authority in the workplace.  

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Be clear on your role

While each company has its own culture, most offices will still stick to the traditional chain of command. This includes directors, upper management, middle management, and often other staff members below that. The hierarchy can vary between companies and industries, but this is usually how it goes. First, try and figure out where you lie on this. You need to be clear about where you act and what your role is as a leader. If you’re in a position where you’re one that gives feedback, resolves issues, and then it’s best to act like it. 

You should also know the hierarchy and who is above you. Apart from being a good leader is to recognize the leaders above you. Being a leader requires a lot of learning, and each role is one as well. This can even include knowing How to change a director's details at Companies House but it can also include many other tasks and gaining an understanding of other things as well.

Know what you’re talking about

It’s best to do extensive research before having certain discussions such as decision making.  If you want to exert your point of view or even share feedback with your teammates then it’s best to conduct thorough and adequate research. This is going to help you out in understanding the situation from multiple angles. This is also going to help you gain a better perspective on opposing viewpoints as well.

This also gives you the chance to just be brutally honest and state that you don’t know how to handle every situation, even when you do all the research and put thought into it. Saying “I don’t know” is far from being a weakness and it doesn’t make you less of an authority figure or leader as well. But if you want to exit the conversation gracefully while still admitting that you’re unsure, even after thorough research, you can say “I’ll think it over” or “Let me get back to you”.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is an excellent way to show authority without coming on too strongly. This can include direct eye contact, leaning forward during discussions, but it can also include being fully engaged. It helps during discussions, such as meetings to bring the material that can help out such as proof points, drawings, a whiteboard, as well as documents to back up your statements.

Being fully engaged

While nonverbal communication is very important, it’s also important to show engagement as well. This can include asking questions, expressing ideas, as well as giving some feedback during meetings. This can also help out with being dynamic and creative. Team members can all appreciate engagement, and if you’re an authoritative figure it’s going to be expected.

Understand that silence doesn’t need to be scary

Nervously chattering so there isn’t any silence could potentially diminish your authority. However, it’s also important to distinguish what is an awkward silence and what is not. If you’re going to speak, it’s best to make a point and then stop. It’s also important to pause for a second before responding to questions. If you’re wanting to show that you’re a confident and authoritative figure, then you need to know that people will wait to hear you speak. So it’s important to don’t rush a response, don’t interrupt, and allow others to formulate their thoughts. 

However, it’s also important to show your personality, as you’re not a robot. While each discussion varies and meetings can vary in terms of the atmosphere. It’s important to pick up and find a balance between reflecting who you are as a person and your personality, while also reflecting your authority and professionalism. It’s a bit tricky, but once you’re able to determine the atmosphere and the people you’re going to be having discussions with, it gets easier.

Do not get angry

This isn’t the military or the police force, the office space is not the same and should not be compared to that. If you want to show your authority and you want to show how confident you are, then you cannot be mean, nor can you show that you’re angry or upset. This screams being unprofessional.  Getting upset is what is going to be that undermines you.

You should be confident that you have the tools to back up your words or actions. Being hostile or aggressive isn’t going to get you anywhere in your career.  A good leader doesn’t show hostility, and you shouldn’t either. If you are someone that does get angry easily or has a hard time accepting criticism, it may help to look into anger management.

Work towards being direct

Being direct doesn’t mean you’re being mean.  It’s better that you don’t shy away from the more difficult conversations or bring up what others may not want to hear. If you want to be authoritative (not mean) then it’s best to be straightforward with what you want to say. Of course, you don’t want to make it sound like an insult. So it’s best to keep that in mind. You want to address the problems head-on and act accordingly so it’s important to be direct but be direct in such a manner where you’re not acting rude.

Another part of being direct is removing filler from your words. Saying “um” or, “I think” are both indicators that you’re not very confident in what you’re saying. These only water down what you’re trying to say and it’s also going to make you look nervous. So it’s important to discipline yourself and look into ways to get rid of these filler words and phrases.

Don’t act defensive

Acting defensive is a way to protect your authority, but it’s also a way to diminish it as well. If your decisions or ideas are being questioned, it doesn’t mean that you’re less of an authority figure or that your ideas or viewpoints are bad. You’re going to come off as incredibly unconfident and less in charge if you’re always going to act defensive on what other people have to say. A good-confident leader is going to be completely open to the possibility of hearing feedback from others and answering questions. Plus, they’re completely open to hearing a better way to go about something.

Don’t worry about being liked

While being liked is going to make your work environment far more enjoyable, it doesn’t take much for someone to just suddenly dislike you. Your focus with your work should be getting respected and working effectively. It shouldn’t be worrying about how to get liked. It’s important to assert yourself in a non-aggressive manner. You don’t have to worry about everyone’s approval and it’s also very important to understand that some people are going to dislike you for the smallest reasons. If you’re wanting to invest in being well-liked then it’s important to understand that you’re going to sacrifice people taking you seriously. 

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