Establishing Your Project Management AuthorityBy: Harry Mingail
It 's been a tough climb to your project management position. How do you establish your authority and inspire respect? What must be done to influence project results and growth and make your stay long and productive?
To begin the style of your predecessor determines how comfortably you settle in. The greatest challenge falls on the shoulders of a company insider who succeeds a strong predecessor. In this case, imitation by the new manager will seem inadequate, at worst foolish. An outsider who follows such a leader has slightly greater chances at being successful.
The insider of a weak predecessor should immediately try to win over the supporters of the old regime. The outsider who takes over from such a manager has more favourable chances to start afresh and win a loyal following.
With any management inauguration, a honeymoon period exists. During this time the incumbent is virtually exempt from criticism. For this reason, the new manager should use this time to establish authority and perhaps introduce changes.
To emerge in a positive light once the honeymoon concludes, the manager should secure an understanding of the organization 's finances. Finding and gaining control of the group 's purse strings should be a priority.
Organizational charts depict positions together with authority and responsibility. These charts should be scrutinized to calculate the proper types and levels of contact. For example, if the company structure renders the manager to be a mere figurehead, negligible authority exists.
In most organizations, subordinates can be divided into four groups: personal assistants, staff, subordinate managers and the rank and file. The larger the organization the more layers exist.
A. Personal Assistants: These individuals must remain under the direct and exclusive control of the manager. They must also be restrained to ensure that they do not wield authority over staff and subordinate managers.
B. Headquarters Staff: These staff are responsible not only to the manager but also for dispersing information and advising subordinate managers. Major staff officials should be unequal in rank, pay and influence to keep the organization in a state of positive conflict. Staff officials should be constrained from assuming too much responsibility. Regular meetings should be held between these individuals and the manager.
C. Subordinate Managers: These individuals should be encouraged to assume as much responsibility as possible. Giving this group of subordinates greater autonomy, inspires their sense of commitment. As their commitment and contribution is reinforced, so too is their authority.
Be cautious. Authority should be delegated to subordinate managers if (a) the manager is in control of the organization 's finances (b) department performance can be objectively measured (c) the subordinate manager is not a contender for the top position.
D. Rank and File: The manager has little direct contact with this group. However, each and every individual of this group should feel that the manager is their ultimate guarantee of justice. There should be in place a procedure whereby any individual can communicate with the top if the need arises.
Subordinates initiate most conversations with managers. However, the boss launches most of the activity from these conversations.
Most subordinates prefer to minimize their contact with their manager. Others expand connections with their manager. These people are either insecure about exercising their autonomy or feel they gain by cultivating a close affiliation.
Wise managers will not count too heavily on the loyalty of subordinates. They will enjoy rather than be overwhelmed by expressions of devotion. During performance appraisals they should carefully limit how this is weighed.
The introduction of a third party into the superior and subordinate relationship, transforms the dynamics of communication. Any third party, whether a subordinate 's peer or a superior 's peer, decreases candid communication. The intensity of the effect varies according to the identity of the third party. In order to inhibit this effect, managers should rely upon increased one-to-one communication with the subordinate.
Groups consisting of three parties quickly generate combinations of two against one. Pairing off is called a coalition. Groups of three are triads.
Coalitions may take various forms. In the case of a rebellious type of coalition, two subordinates may organize to dominate a manager. A so-called improper coalition would find a manager and a subordinate dominating another subordinate. At the same time, the manager would dominate the subordinate with whom he or she forms a union.
Effective management strives to prevent these type of coalitions from forming. Reasoned thinking and behaviour rather than gang influence should win progress.
It 's inevitable. No matter how long or how well a manager may have done the job or exercised, the occasional crisis will rear its menacing head.
In hard times it is essential that a manager follows a sequence of crisis activities:
A strong alliance with the boss translates into power and influence for you. Deficient boss support dooms you to struggling with your authority and eventual failure. Too much competition and conflict leads to similar unhappy ends.
To perform their jobs effectively, employees need authority commensurate with responsibility. Give it to them. Don't battle them for what is rightfully theirs. For example, assigning work or giving commands directly to the staff belonging to your subordinate boss, undermines the authority and effectiveness of the subordinate.
Check Your Authority
A feared and respected manager fosters a reputation for decisive action in the interests of the organization. This ability, called charisma, arouses both fear and love among followers which is called charisma. Charisma empowers the manager with vast amounts of authority.
Article Source: Content for Reprint
© Copyright 2007, Harry Mingail
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.
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