A reader writes:
I’ve recently ascended rather quickly into a new leadership role at my company and I am struggling with communicating to those on my team such that everything is not a collaboration and debate. There are times when I need people to do what I am asking them to do, simple as that. Yesterday, a direct report looked at me and said, “Are you the lead on this or am I?” when I was instructing him on how a certain part of a project I’d assigned to him needed to be handled. Today I will have a conversation with him about how he is the lead on projects I assign him, but that he is under my direction, meaning when I step in and say something should be handled a certain way, it’s not a suggestion, but a directive.
I believe in creative collaboration and it’s important to me that all team members contribute ideas, but I also need to clearly communicate directives that are received as directives and not suggestions. I need to figure out how to stop talking/being heard like I’m asking for people’s permission and buy-in, and start talking/being heard like the person in charge.