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6 Ways to Appear More Authoritative at Work

by | Apr 22, 2024

Emerging leaders beware: are you undermining your own authority without realizing it?

Here are 6 ways to exude confidence and appear to be a leader, according to U.S. News & World Report writer Alison Green.

🎤  Get in synch, up front, with your direct report.

Have alignment with your supervisor on issues facing your team and company. You will lose authority if your boss reverses what you are doing and saying.

🎤  Know how to answer questions when you don’t know the answer.

You will not know how to handle every situation that crosses your path. To respond with confidence in these scenarios learn to use time as your negotiating factor. Example: “You’ve raised some valid concerns and you’ve given me lots to think about. I’ll get back to you on Friday.” Note: follow up when you say you’ll follow up.

🎤  Reduce your verbal clutter.

Fillers like “um,” “you know,” and “I think,” dilute your point, make you look nervous and decreases your gravitas. Try to erase this clutter by being aware of what fillers you use and wearing your imaginary Verbal Clutter Hat. Hint: practice this de-cluttering technique in less stressful situations and the habit will carry over into your work life.

🎤  Be aware of your tone of voice.

Don’t end sentences with a question mark unless they’re questions! This bad habit, called “upspeak”, negates your authority. Also, use declarative sentences. These are simple statements providing information or stating facts. Your tone of voice implies authority vs sounding hesitant and unsure.

🎤  Use the Power of the Pause.

Sounds easy but it’s not! You rush to fill in the spaces. You might chatter nervously or do a quick laugh/giggle at the end of your sentences. Both belie your sense of authority. State your thoughts and then stop. When answering questions you can pause to formulate your thoughts before responding. Become comfortable with silence.

🎤  Be straightforward.

Say what you want to say, even in difficult or awkward conversations. You will appear more confident and authoritative by being direct. Addressing issues is part of your job.

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