Affirming your authority

Having authority, being heard and followed, inspiring obedience... a comfort that we would sometimes dream of making permanent, well-established, even indestructible. But we also know that authority is volatile and requires our constant vigilance!
Understand your own posture
We sometimes tend to attribute to others the responsibility for our own difficulties in leading them: "they're stubborn, they're not in good faith..." But it is also in response to our own way of being with them that they follow us... or not. So to identify our own way of being "too much" or "not enough", of doing or not doing, will help us to discern what may first have to change in us.       
Position yourself clearly
Authority implies that one's opinions and demands have a value and are respected. It is therefore essential to challenge yourself: What is my opinion on...? Is it clearly understood by my entourage? How do they know precisely what I expect? By positioning yourself, you help others to position themselves more easily in turn: "yes," "no," "I'll do it," "I won't" ...       
Reason according to "common interests"
Establishing your authority does not always mean imposing it. On the contrary, one must constantly juggle the negotiable and the non-negotiable. For what is negotiable, there is the need to take into account the other's constraints and expectations... on the condition that yours and those of your team are likewise respected. What is expressed here is fairness, a key ingredient in legitimate authority.       

Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!

1 / 3   1st team meeting
You become manager of a new team and are hosting your first meeting within the first few days. Which of the following messages seems most pertinent for affirming your legitimacy in leading the team?
I will of course give you my first impression of our department, but what interests me most today is to clearly understand your own perceptions.
Yes, you show you are going to take into consideration the team’s experience before taking up a final position.
I’ve just arrived here; you know the job better than I do, what’s your vision of the future?
Good question, but there’s a risk the team may worry that you don’t have your own personal vision.
After my initial analysis of the situation; Here’s how I see the department 3 years from now…
If your analysis draws on the team’s vision, it should be mentioned.
I have already managed a department comparable to yours and know the specifics well. Here’s how I plan our development…
You give the impression of leaning on your own past experiences, and not taking into consideration the particularities of a new department.
2 / 3   Not legitimate?
Astrid, one of your colleagues, doesn’t seem to think you’re the legitimate person for the job. She ignores your advice etc. Yet, you have to collaborate with her. What do you do?
You send her an email asking “why don’t you take into account my advice?”
A good question, but a little abrupt, and one that should be asked face to face.
You suggest having lunch and say to her: “You generally don’t take into consideration my opinion. What are the reasons?”
Yes, you clearly ask what the problem is, without accusing.
You respond when she doesn’t answer one of your emails by saying: “the least you could do is reply to my proposal!”
A lesson on politeness is not a good idea!
You ask other colleagues whether she acts in the same way with them.
This is not a direct approach and should be handled with precaution if you don’t yet know your other colleagues.
3 / 3   Not specialised enough?
John gives you the impression that he feels that you don’t sufficiently understand his role. What do you say to this?
I’m not an expert in your field, but it doesn’t prevent me from helping you.
You are justifying yourself !
What am I not providing that you need?
Yes, John will have to specify what the problem is.
I’m not here to bring expertise.
You are defending yourself, with little chance, at this stage, of convincing John.
It’s you that should know your job well, isn’t it?
This is an attack, which is not a good idea!
Your score is
You finished!
To review the questions and responses, please choose from the list below.