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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Because I'm the boss" is always a losing argument

Getting people to take action is difficult. Anyone who says they're great managers and enjoy management either isn't doing it or hasn't done it very long.

Your title isn't a statement of your authority. When you're trying to encourage a recalcitrant employee to do something, never use the phrase "because I'm the boss" or "because I'm the campaign manager" or "because I'm whatever-title" - your title doesn't confer authority.

Your authority is whether people do what you say, it's your persuasive power to get things done because people trust that what you're asking them to do is urgent and necessary.

If someone is refusing to do the work you assign, or unable to do it the way you want, you shouldn't be afraid to separate that employee from the workplace. A paycheck is dependent on completing the required tasks, and there are plenty of people who are highly talented and looking for work such that you don't need to tolerate obstinacy from employees.

And yet many campaigns and organizations will tolerate lazy and mediocre employees because they think them too important otherwise. They're vital because of who they know, because the perceived costs of replacing them are too high.

You need people who will complete the tasks given to them, and who will work when assigned. If someone refuses to do those things repeatedly and defiantly, it's time to consider terminating their employment. The real challenge is when you don't have that authority and can't fire them, but have to work with them anyway.

In those cases your authority is only persuasive. You have all the responsibility and none of the necessary authority, a very challenging position.

And no matter if you can fire someone or not, most of the time your authority is much less than you think it is, so try to rely solely on persuasive power with people instead of the coercive power of terminations and saying "because I'm the boss."

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