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Ever get the feeling your employees are treating you like a doormat? Do they ignore you or take you for granted?

In effect, employees are undermining your authority. It’s an awful feeling when your authority is non-existent. You’re not taken seriously. Employees are in charge.

It’s also an indicator of related issues: Most often, profits are minimal. Customers become disenchanted and leave.

Whether you’re a mid-level supervisor or you’re the principal of the business, you can expect more dire consequences.

You’re not likely to succeed as a boss or employer. Hopefully, it isn’t too late. Get busy.

Here are six basic tactics:

1. Your instructions are just that – they’re not questions. By all means use respectful phrases, such as please and thank you. Your goal should be respectful but authoritative.

For instance, in most cases, be definite. Don’t ask “Can you do this by Friday?” Instead, say “Please have this report to me by Friday at 9.”

Make sure the inflection at end of your sentence is down, not up. If your instructions end in a higher pitch or tone, your employees will see you as lacking in confidence.

2. Be civil, but strange. In other words, be friendly but don’t try to be your employees’ best friend.

Your goal should be to manage with empathy whenever warranted as opposed to being a pal. Being too cozy is the best way to be taken for granted as a peer.

Spend time with them. Ask about their hobbies or weekends, but don’t mosey into their affairs. Otherwise, you face constant manipulation, half-done jobs and dissatisfied customers.

3. Brace yourself to be authoritative. Don’t over-do it, but in tense times, you need to be ready to respond with authoritativeness. Again, be selective and balanced in demonstrating your authority.

Be prepared with key phrases, such as “I want to see you now.” The word now adds a sense of urgency.

Should an employee appear to become obstinate or border on insubordination, say something like “Let me be clear…”

Make sure the inflection at end of your sentence is down, not up. If your instructions end in a higher pitch or tone, your employees will see you as lacking in confidence.

4. Show strength. Your employees need to know that you’re their manager, but that you are also a member of another team.

You have to be able to implement policies of your upper management. You don’t want your employees to think you’re on your own. Employees need to know that you’re comfortably embedded in your job and have the backing of upper management.

Short of that, you can expect a manipulating employee to circumvent you and try to go over your head.

5. Be consistent in your praise and reprimands. With under or non-performing employees, confront the situations and correct them. Make certain employees know the consequences.

6. Look for opportunities for humor — even when criticizing employees. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and sarcasm. The Greek word, sarcazo, means “to tear flesh.” Always take the high road.

Ordinarily, criticism should be given privately but there are exceptions. Use discretion.

For example, early in my career, it was the end of the Vietnam War. Authority began to be questioned. It became fashionable to loosen up on dress codes and for us young men to wear long hair over our ears.

But there were limits at the insurance company where I worked. In a staff meeting, I’ll never forget the light-hearted humor of our boss: “Do you think it would be a violation of your civil rights to get a haircut?”

Several of us nearly fell off our chairs guffawing in huge belly laughs. We immediately got haircuts and didn’t mind doing it.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management tips:

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication – Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

Management/HR – How to Increase Profits via Employee Turnover – As cost centers, human resources have opportunities to shine whenever they act as profit centers. And employee turnover presents opportunities for companies to make money.

Management — 4 Mindsets for Leadership in Performance Reviews – Are you nervous at the thought of giving employee-performance reviews? You’re not alone. Your employees aren’t exactly thrilled, either. Typically, employees aren’t convinced they can get valid feedback. If they’ve experienced poor managers, they likely dread the performance-review process or are skeptical of the outcome.

Sales Management: Motivate Your Staff in 10 Seconds – All too-often when sales managers are busy, they’re task-oriented. Not to be critical, but they’re focused only on what’s at the end of their noses. For effective management and revenue, the trick is to guard against it.

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation – Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

Management must speak with one voice. When it doesn’t management itself becomes a peripheral opponent to the team’s mission.”

-Pat Riley


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.