How to Enhance Authority Without Being Bossy

“Managing up” means you’re thinking like those over you and adapting. Those who adapt survive and thrive.

Thinking like the boss:

  1. What’s the leader’s style?
  2. Where should I fit in and how can I stand out?
  3. What’s the big picture, not simply tasks?
  4. What makes the leader feel supported?
  5. How much information do they need?

Leading from the bottom:

Managing up suggests typical top down organizational structure. Leaders look down from the top while everyone else looks up. Try shifting your view of leadership. See leading from underneath not above. Lower yourself and lift others.

You enhance your authority by leading from the bottom.

Important not self-important:

Admit it, importance easily morphs into self-importance. Leaders are important, even central to organizational success. Reject self-importance, however. Don’t walk around puffed up like all knowing gods. Don’t look down on the little people.

Authority and responsibility from the bottom:

Enhance and extend your authority by using it less. Use your authority to give authority.

You’ll always make decisions that please some and displease others. That’s leadership. Reserve your authority for the tough calls. The more authority you give others the more they appreciate yours. Weak leaders make all the calls. Strong leaders step back.

Never jettison responsibility. Leading from the bottom is delegating authority but maintaining responsibility.

View decisions from the bottom not the top:

  1. Ask front line employees, “What do you think?”
  2. Maintain responsibility but push decision making down.
  3. Overcome the need to be all knowing. You come off like a know-it-all if you can’t learn or be wrong.

View people from the bottom not the top. Ask:

  1. What makes them feel supported?
  2. What’s their style?
  3. Where can they stand out?
  4. How much information do they need?
  5. What are their dreams and aspirations?

What prevents leaders from leading from the bottom?

What does leading from the bottom look like?