5 Ways To Get Your Team To Take You Seriously And Stop Overstepping You

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Stepping into a leadership role doesn’t guarantee immediate respect from the team. Too often, new leaders take their new role and level of authority for granted. They assume their new position equals automatic trust and respect. Gaining trust and respect doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistency, patience and dedication. However, once earned, it contributes to increased engagement, happiness and accelerates the growth trajectory of the team.

When employees overstep their manager, it’s frustrating. It not only weakens the position and authority of the leader, but it erodes the morale of the team. As a result, others begin to question the effectiveness of their boss. If not addressed immediately and appropriately, it can upend an entire team.

There are a variety of reasons why employees overstep their manager. Here are five ways managers can earn the respect of their team and be taken seriously.

Become More Self-Aware

In many instances, new managers are overwhelmed with the pressures that come with their new role. Managers who are more self-aware make better decisions, build more meaningful relationships and lead their team more effectively. Self-awareness requires seeking out feedback and checking in with oneself to identify shortcomings. Determined not to fail, they exert their power through micromanaging, poor communication or toxic behaviors. As a result, employees don’t feel comfortable or safe and seek out someone else as a way to avoid their own leader.

Syed Irfan Ajmal, digital marketing expert, said “employees often hesitate in communicating their needs to their leaders because they’re unsure about the sort of reaction they might get.” He added, “they assume that speaking up can put their career in jeopardy.” Thus, they find it easier to avoid them and seek out someone they trust.

Build Trust

Most employees view their manager as too inexperienced, ineffective and incompetent. As a result, they don’t trust the answer they’re given and will overstep their manager to get a better one. Likewise, they firmly believe their idea or opinion will help move the business forward but don’t think their leader is as committed to the result as they are. This is especially true for managers who are consumed by their day-to-day and remain hands-off from their team. Employees begin to question if their managers are capable to handle their role. Therefore, they seek out someone who they trust can handle their request.

Building a culture of trust takes time and continual investment. Those who invest the time foster a culture of trust, engagement and mutual respect. This starts by improving communications, seeking and giving feedback often and taking the time to get to know each individual. Additionally, it’s explaining the why behind answers. Instead of rejecting an employee’s idea, take the time to explain why it’s rejected and work together to find a better solution.

Make Them Feel Involved

Leaders who feel overstepped should actively involve those employees in the decision making process. They can do this by reframing the conversation and asking questions to make them feel like their opinion matters as well as further explaining the why behind the final decision. They shouldn’t completely shut down the employee’s feedback without discussing it and making sure the employee understands either why they can’t move forward immediately or at all.

When employees understand the why, it helps them put into perspective why that particular result isn’t the most successful. Additionally, it makes them think outside of the box and form another plan of action. Also, setting up one-on-one meetings with employees gives them exclusive time with their manager to work through issues that might not be addressed on a team level.

Address The Pattern

It’s best not to assume employees who overstep are intentionally trying to undermine anyone’s authority. In fact, most employees don’t realize what they’re doing is harmful. For this reason, it’s important that managers first put themselves in their employee’s shoes to better under the motivation behind their behaviors. They can do this by asking their employee why they’re overstepping. From there, they should offer the employee support to make them feel more confident in the answer their manager gives them.

Nate Masterson, HR manager for Maple Holistics, shared “most of the time people just want to know they’re being heard-that’s why they go over your head in the first place.” Yaniv Masjedi, CMO at Nextiva, added “someone who oversteps is really just trying to get something done and is frustrated that they haven’t been able to get the results they’re looking for through the normal channels.

Set A Standard

Setting boundaries and establishing a standard helps to curb this behavior. Tyler Parris, founder of Chief of Staff, explained “without clear expectations, boundaries and consequences, this behavior is likely to continue.” If this is a pattern that has happened on more than one occasion, the leader should seek out their CEO or support from the C-suite to gain mentorship as well as create a strategy for when it happens again. If the C-suite enables this behavior, it prevents the leader from being taken seriously. As such the cycle continues. It’s crucial that C-suite supports their managers and re-directs the employee back to them.

Originally published by Heidi Lynne Kurter at https://www.forbes.com.




Forbes senior journalist, workplace culture consultant, leadership coach, domestic violence advocate, workplace bully activist and Corgi mom!

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Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Forbes senior journalist, workplace culture consultant, leadership coach, domestic violence advocate, workplace bully activist and Corgi mom!

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