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How to show your authority with out being a jerk

In business, it is a fine line between nice and too nice.You want your employees to respect you and respect your authority; however, you don't want to come off like a jerk.There are a couple of things you can do to preserve your reputation ofbeing a "great" person while still showing authority and commanding respect.

Be friendly but not friends.There is a code of conduct between friends and there is a code of conduct between employers and employees.Once you cross the friendship line and your employees feel like you are personal friends, they will naturally confuse the different codes of conduct.Things that a friend is likely to blow off, a boss has to address.The confusion of these boundaries often gets nice bosses reputations of jerks.

You can be friendly with your staff.In fact, you should be friendly.Part of being a good boss is maintaining friendly relations with your employees and encouraging friendly relations between employees.However, you should never cross the line of professionalism.Don't tell your employees the details of your personal life and don't encourage them to share their details with you either (unless it is work related).Never joke or talk inappropriately with any of your employees.This not only give your employees the idea that you are personal friends, it can also come back to haunt you if someone ever decides to take you to court.

Handle problems immediately.Work place problems do not fix themselves.The longer a problem goes without being taken care of, the more feelings will get involved.If you have a problem on your team, address it as soon as you become aware of it.Talk to all parties involved in an open meeting if that is possible.Talking to involved persons in private can lead to your conversation being repeated and exaggerated.Sometime you come out looking like a jerk because some employee, trying to save face, alters the content of your conversation.You might also come out looking like a jerk if you don't get both sides of the story.No matter how clear-cut the problem looks, get all the information before you start doing write-ups or other punitive actions.

Have a chain of command.You are going to look like a jerk if you let you job turn you into a disciplinarian.Corrective actions should be taken at the level of the department, not at the corporate level.Make sure that all employees know who they should go to for immediate problem resolution.You should only be handling problems at the highest level of management.The managers should handle the people they manage.Hold your management team to a high standard.As long as they know what you expect, they will try to meet those expectations and they will expect feedback if the expectations are not meet.

Accept feedback.If you want to show your authority without looking like a jerk, you should ask for feedback on your performance.You can ask for direct feedback, put up a suggestion box, or do evaluations during the year.Whatever works in the structure of your company.When designing evaluations, ask direct questions about your management style.You can say things like, "I think the boss cares about me as a person" or "I think the boss is fair when handling conflicts".By asking these questions directly, you will be able to modify specific "jerky" behaviors that your employees identify.It takes guts to ask for feedback on your performance and it can hurt your feelings when the feedback is negative but in the long run, it will only benefit you as a manager.

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