Whether you’re the founder, the CEO, the manager, or all of the above, one of the scariest words to hear is “authority.” It’s a crucial part of the job, ensuring that each person on your team will follow you as their leader. Although it may seem as if authoritative individuals have gone through secret training to become respected, authority is really not as difficult as it appears. You just have to follow the universal guidelines below and you will be well on your way to becoming a great leader.

  1.   Gain respect rather than instilling fear. You don’t have to be the angry leader locked away in your office, one who is only seen when firing someone. If you want people to follow you, they have to first respect you. The “fear” employees feel when called in for a meeting shouldn’t be from anticipation of you being angry, but rather that they have disappointed you in some way. Never raise your voice in anger, rather to get your point across, be firm.
  2.   Be just as personable as you are demanding – and vice versa. Along with being firm, you want to ensure that you are also personable. Contrary to popular belief, friendliness isn’t the opposite of authority. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with your employees, but you must be friendly. Simply make sure that you are showing an appropriate level of respect back to the employee who, in return, should also respect you as well.
  3.   Trust your employees by raising your expectations. Delegate, delegate, delegate! Not only will this get the job done, but it will show your employees that you trust them enough to complete a task. After all, that’s why you hired them, right? By raising your expectations, it increases the overall work ethic of your business and, in turn, makes you an authority figure.
  4.   Lastly, always follow through. If you’ve already established that you are worthy of respect, have high expectations, and smile much of the time, the next step to being a great leader is to follow through. If you make a promise or give a warning, you always have to follow through – not only for the employee in question, but for the entire workforce. This shows that you are the authority, and while you may be respectable and friendly, you are still the boss.

Gain respect, be personable, raise your expectations, and always follow through. With these four guidelines, you’ll be a better leader, who gets the job done, while empowering your team.