5 Ways to Tell If You’re Abusing Your Authority

Do you encourage failure?

Do you encourage failure?

Being the boss is tricky sometimes. You want to create an environment of trust and respect while encouraging efficiency and managing a positive work environment. You can’t please everyone and when working with different personalities and stressors of your own, you might not even realize you’ve participated in some unsavory management tactics to get through the day.

To save yourself, and your employees, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’re not taking advantage of your power.

Are you using intimidation to reach success?

Bullies are easy to spot because they don’t bully everyone, only those they feel enough power over to victimize. So you should ask yourself if certain members of your team make you feel more powerful than others and then begin to examine why.

Boss bullying can occur by way of sarcasm, yelling and sometimes even physical violence such as slamming drawers, throwing things and mishandling staff. If you use intimidation or humiliation tactics to get results from your team, consider that they’re simply complying with demands to avoid the brunt of your rage. Bullying behavior warrants lower performance and increased absenteeism, to name just a few negative reactions.

Do you manipulate?

If in an effort to meet business objectives, you find yourself choosing your immediate needs over the business’ long-term needs by way of lies and mind games, you might be a manipulator.

Making false promises to promote an employee so as to get better performance from them, pinning staff against each other, taking sides and picking favorites are a few signs to look for.

Are you a colleague-boss?

Do you try to be the “cool boss” by denying your power and trying to make everyone else feel equal? While there can be benefits to this tactic, without proper finesse and the right perspective you could be causing more harm than good. By failing to acknowledge the power you have regarding promotions, salaries, hiring and firing and access to information, you’re building a false reality within the department. You might even read as insecure and uncomfortable with your own authority which does more harm than just allow you to be taken advantage of; you’re also untrustworthy which can make your staff uncomfortable, too. And when the time comes for you to use your power to make a decision, your staff will be faced with the sudden reality that they’re not your equal after all.

Do you intrude on your employees’ privacy?

No one feels comfortable working for a snoopy boss. If you don’t trust your employees, a problem exists too large to fix by standing over their computer screen or checking their printing queue. Instead of quietly creeping up on working employees or keeping your ear tight on coffee break chatter, learn how to build a bigger trust among the team.

Do you encourage failure?

Do you set unrealistic goals for your employees or change project guidelines often, causing extra work and stress on the team? Do you avoid providing honest and constructive feedback? Do you withhold information that could be vital in the success of a project? You might be setting your staff up to fail and taking a deeper look is in everyone’s best interest.

You probably don’t mean to abuse your authority but if you find yourself questioning any of the above, you might want to reevaluate your management technique. It’s important for you to keep your perspective through the daily stress of being the boss otherwise you’ll lose the team’s respect and much more loss will follow suit.

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