How to manage subordinates: 7 ways to give orders

The times when employees held tightly to their jobs, feared dismissal and resignedly complied with all the whims of management have sunk into oblivion. Now a good specialist knows his worth and is not afraid to change jobs.

Therefore, the success of your business largely depends on knowing how to manage subordinates. Threats of dismissal, a raised tone, and an arrogant attitude of a manager towards his subordinates bring the enterprise closer to inevitable collapse, because in the 21st century employees need to be motivated, and not try to be kept in an iron rein.

Principles and methods of management in the work of a manager

I will give a practical example of the principles and methods in the work of a leader.

For example, how to get a person to fulfill your request?

The principle should be the following - find benefits for the person in such a step so that it is easier for him to make a decision.

Let’s say I was promoted, and now I should already be Alexander Semyonovich. But some of the managers still contact me, Sashok or Sanechka, as they are used to. And I decided that I somehow need to get rid of this little by little.


You can start sorting things out:

-You know, Ivan Ivanovich, you yourself changed your status, so why are you still Sankom? Of course, I am no match for you, but...

This is how you can start sorting things out. Will it be easy for that person to accept this idea? Not in this form. Because we seem to be pointing out the wrongness of his behavior, and perhaps he will decide that we have some kind of unreasonable ambitions. That we are from rags to riches. Perhaps we are depriving him of the opportunity to be patronizing to us . That is, it is unpleasant.

But we can make this task easier. And ask him to say:

-Ivan Ivanovich, you have done a lot for me, I am very grateful to you. But you know, I feel that it’s a little difficult for me to gain authority, so you call everyone by name and patronymic, but I’m still Sasha. Please help me, for my subordinates, because sometimes they mimic, sometimes they laugh. I will be very grateful to you.

And then will it be easy for a person to agree?

Yes. Because he does not lose his status. We can really say that for you I will always be Sasha, but in front of my subordinates, please... You understand the point. That is, we chose the wrapper in which a person is pleased to do this, without losing his status . It is easy for Him to do as we want.

Because very often, if we drive an enemy into a corner, they say that a rabbit begins to bite if it is driven into a corner. That is, we mistakenly think that the enemy must be put under pressure and destroyed in every possible way. This is a big mistake; if possible, you need to approach him from the side from which it will be very easy and pleasant for him to do what you ask.

In other cases, the principle should be as follows: when we are dealing with subordinates, we must put pressure . That is, hit, scratch, then remove the pressure and show the person how he can get out of the situation gracefully. In our example, the manager says:

(The story with Alexander is described in the article: How to manage subordinates - skills of an effective leader)

-So, Alexander, if I understand correctly, there is no doubt that everything will be completed on time. Everything is fine. Well, thank you very much, good luck, then we’ll meet you tomorrow at 12.

That is, now, Alexander, having been accepted, has the opportunity to restore his status again. The manager treats me well, everything is fine, they don’t get angry with me, they don’t continue to humiliate me. They threw me like that once, but they immediately picked me up, shook me off and said that everything was fine, go ahead. And what does he think? That's better. But he remembers that he was lying down, he remembers that he was thrown, that he was rolled in the sand a little. But they immediately lifted me up, did not finish off, did not trample, did not humiliate.

That is, as in Japanese, there is no need to make a person lose face . If you feel you need to do something, do it like a cat paws. Show that it is possible this way, be careful, and immediately hide the claws. And all again peace, friendship, chewing gum. Everything is fine. We are kind, we are fluffy. It’s much more interesting with us this way. But the person remembers the scratches, that they were there, and that it’s better not to be impudent.

Well, if with more senior colleagues, then first look for benefits, that’s the wrapper in which it will be beneficial for a person to agree with you. Look for benefits for him, don't look for one-sided benefits.

Well, for example, what will be the benefit for Ivan Ivanovich when I turn to him with a request? By asking him for a resource, we help the person maintain the status of a higher leader.

That is, the authorities have two prerogatives: to punish and to be merciful. And by turning to the authorities to be merciful, we emphasize the status of the authorities. We emphasize our certain dependence on the authorities, and thereby help the authorities do what we need.

Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War” also has a second title, which is very common: “The Way of War, the Way of Deception.” War is always a deception. Management struggle is sometimes deception; you need to be able to deceive.

That is, to show what is not there. If you do, show what you don't do. If you don't, show what you do. If you have a resource, show what you don’t have, if you don’t have it, show what you have.

And in a number of cases, deception is simply necessary; in war it is impossible without deception. That is, deception is sometimes the concealment of true intentions. Because if we understand that telling the truth in this case will be bad, then we must look for that vector diagram in which it will be beneficial for a person to move in our direction.

That is, hold with harm, move with benefit. And if we want to move a person to take action, look for his benefit, and do not look for one-sided benefit.

The phrase: “I would like you to take into account the fact that I need to gain authority,” this is an encroachment on prerogatives, this is a claim, this is a “presentation,” as they say, brothers. Yes, you are absolutely right, but I remind you that on the graves of pedestrians they write that he was right. You are right, but you have doomed your idea into a form that makes it impossible for a person to follow your proposal. That is, following your proposal is essentially losing your authority.

Agree that not everyone will be so lenient as to compromise their authority in order to fulfill your request. This is completely unusual for most people.

And many confrontations arise precisely because one of the participants in the “managerial struggle” takes a careless step, after which the other simply has no choice left. That is, he puts him in a position where there is no benefit. It is not profitable to agree. On the contrary, he can agree only by damaging his own interests. But there are few such people.

And these are all fairy tales: “In the interests of the cause...” But you know, business is business, and everyone has their own subjective assessment of what is happening. And that Ivan Ivanovich in the blink of an eye will come up with 28 versions of why this should not be done. He will say that Sasha began to become arrogant, apparently we promoted him too early, because without a week the manager is already giving me instructions. And tomorrow, what will he do?

Therefore, you must always be careful with this. Therefore, help the “enemy” find benefit in the step that you need. He will do it with pleasure.

And by the way, according to the Harvard negotiation methodology, there is a “win-win” principle. That is, both are winners, each gets their own benefit. Ivan Ivanovich is mine, and I am mine. He gets his status strengthened, we get a different treatment. Everyone wins. So it’s not always good to cut the truth, not everyone likes it, not everyone is interested in it.

briefly about the main thing

Such advice on how to communicate correctly with subordinates is given by practitioners and professionals in their field. Remember, assimilate and implement in your team so that your company becomes more successful and relationships in the team become stronger. Finally, a few main mistakes in a leader’s behavior (to remember exactly what NOT to do):

  1. Don’t delegate because it’s faster to do it yourself;
  2. Do not strengthen your team - do not engage in training;
  3. Do not develop yourself;
  4. Forget about the reward system;
  5. Do not trust subordinates and control every step;
  6. Select favorites;
  7. Be afraid to fire when you definitely need to;
  8. Totalitarian management;
  9. Forget about the mission and strategy;
  10. Turn off common sense.

On the topic: Personnel motivation: working methods (TOP-10) Non-material motivation of personnel: 15 ways

Manager's working methods - how to make unpopular decisions

What should a manager do if he needs to fire an elderly, respected employee? Or make another, no more popular decision. Are there management methods for such “slippery” situations? There is an exit. For this , a method is used called: “Empty Boat” .

What's the idea? You swim, dive, emerge, and your head hits the boat. And you get in there to explain to the boatman everything that you think about him, but there is no one in the boat. The boat is empty, no one is to blame. There is no culprit.


Well, again it was in ancient China, a certain prince waged a war against his neighbor. The commander was killed. An honored commander who enjoys authority. The soldiers loved him, he was a loyal supporter of the throne, but he died in battle. A new commander needs to be appointed. They looked at the candidates, chose one and said: “You will now be a military leader, let’s go to the troops and lead the battle.”

The new commander says to the prince: “Okay, but the previous commander was very loved, but I don’t have authority yet. Give me some famous dignitary under my command. Who everyone knows is your close friend, that he stands tall, and if he obeys me, it kind of lifts my own weight.” The prince agreed, they chose a dignitary, a nobleman, and subordinated him to the commander.

Well, the commander’s main question is authority. Because if there is no authority, the army will fight without a spark, will sabotage, and the war will be lost. And the new commander turns to the nobleman and says:

-I’m leaving to visit the troops today, and when do you expect to arrive at the camp?

He says:

-Well, I have planned a farewell, and in two days at 12-00 I will arrive at the army.

The commander says:

-Okay, so you will arrive on Tuesday at 12 noon.

The conversation was in front of witnesses. And he left.

Tuesday is coming. And the commander does the following. In the morning he places a water clock in the square and assigns a special soldier to the clock, who must ensure that there is water in the clock. So that the clock works. So it’s 12 o’clock, that person is gone, one, two, three. No.

It’s already night, actually two o’clock in the morning. A nobleman is brought into the commander's tent. His patrol arrested him for riding around the camp on a horse. But there is a rule that in wartime you cannot ride around the camp on a horse, only at a walk. Because panic may begin.

So, two situations:

  • Late to the troops.
  • Jumping around the camp on horseback.

And in ancient China there was a person responsible for the charter, the so-called lawyer, who was in charge of all the regulations. And the commander says:

-What is our punishment for being late to the troops?

He turns the pages and says:

-The death penalty . -What is it like to move around the camp in a jump? -The death penalty.

And now the commander has a question. What to do? Let me remind you that the commander, like the leader, has the right to determine the appropriateness of applying the regulations. It is up to him to decide whether to apply or not apply the regulations.

Let me remind you that the nobleman is a close friend of the prince. And one more thing, the nobleman says:

-Yes, I was galloping around the camp, yes, I knew it, I was in a hurry to report.

And the commander asks:

- Why were you late?

He says:

— There was a river flood there, we were taking a detour, so we were late. -But did you arrange a farewell? -Yes, I wanted to say goodbye to my friends, the prince was there to see me off.

And here's the question:

What should a commander do?

What problems exist? Let's identify the limitations:

  1. The nobleman is a close friend of the prince. The prince was on the wire. What do they say turns a drinking session into an event? The presence of the authorities... In fact, it was a legalized event. And that means that executing him according to the regulations will cause problems.
  2. If you don't execute, you'll lose your authority. Command of the army will be disrupted, and the war will be lost.

But in this case there is no malicious intent, and the commander has the right, in accordance with his authority, to decide that this regulation for this offense may not be applied.

Why will he lose authority? Because everyone might think that he did not apply the regulations because he was afraid. And if the commander had authority, this would not frighten him. He has enough authority to ignore how an individual act will be interpreted.

If this man had not been a friend of the prince, he would have been the very last warrior; he could have been pardoned. Because no one would have decided that there were other motives. But this was a friend of the prince once, and there was no authority twice. This means that in this case, non-application of the regulations could be interpreted as currying favor with the authorities, as unequal actions.

That is, the commander would be considered cowardly and considered to be ingratiating himself with power. And now they are looking at the new commander...

And so it turns out that he must be executed. At the same time, I want to live, and I don’t want to quarrel with the prince. And this is where the “Empty Boat” method . Let me remind you that the commander placed a clock and a special soldier in the square. And he then orders:

- We are talking about human life, call here the soldier in charge of the clock.

They call a soldier, he says:

-Did the clock work? - Yes - Did they really work? -Yes

He tells the lawyer:

- Run, check if the clock works, is there water?

He comes running and says:

-Everything is fine, there is water. -Didn’t you stop? -No, they didn’t stop, the clock worked all day, the clock is working.

Then he says to the lawyer:

-Look at the law, we are talking about human life, maybe there are some exceptions because of river floods, because of wires. Or if there was a farewell and the prince was present, then there is no need to execute.

He reads and says:

- Nothing is written, just for being late to the troops: death penalty.

The commander says:

- Not good, well, check it again.

He says:

-No, nothing more has been written. - Well, one offense is okay... Second: he was jumping around the camp, as you say, in a hurry, maybe there is something there. If he was in a hurry, if he wanted to report, then he might not be executed.

Lawyer says:

-No, there is nothing.

And the commander says:

-Can not do anything.

And executed.

What's the idea? Empty boat. He abdicated full responsibility in front of witnesses. It looked like nothing could be done. There is not a single clue to save a person’s life. And the commander must act in accordance with the law.

This method is called “Empty Boat”, and is used in cases where the manager does not want to take on a certain responsibility, or does not want to discuss a certain topic. But this technique should not be abused too often, but sometimes it works quite well.

Here another management rule comes into force: “Cry when you cut off your head.” That is, do not experience pleasure, do not punish out of cruelty or anger. Punishment should be rational, but sometimes it is necessary. Because punishment is the prerogative of power. And it doesn’t matter what the punishment is. Moral punishment, from a leader to a subordinate, or regulated punishment.

It is the manager's responsibility to influence people if they do the wrong thing. And sometimes, the interests of a business are higher than the interests of an individual . This once again goes back to the idea that a leader’s bread is very bitter. And in this case, from the point of view of the security of the state and the combat capability of the army, these interests are higher than the interests of an individual nobleman.

That is, if the commander does not gain authority, the army fights poorly, the country suffers defeat... And in this situation, the commander understood that in this situation not only his life was at stake, but also the security of the state. But at the same time, of course, as a reasonable person, he wanted to protect his own interests. At least so that the prince would not have a formal reason to have claims against him.

Alexander Fedotov

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A fine line between a twig and a gingerbread

The very first and, perhaps, main rule is that whatever the management method, it should not harm either the employee or the work process. No matter how much you have studied the literature on this topic, watched training videos, listened to conflicting advice from colleagues during lunch, your management style should not blindly copy the instructions printed in books and voiced by experienced managers. The psychology of managing people, in your interpretation, should carry individual imprints of nature, natural character traits, honed by the ability to control one’s emotions, and one’s own experience of the path traveled from the bottom to the top of the hierarchical ladder. Your attitude towards your subordinates should be exactly the same as what you would expect from your boss when sitting in the chair of an ordinary clerk. Try to find a middle ground between the angry, nagging bore who refuses to squeeze out even a sound of praise, and the soft follower boss who does not dare show his displeasure.

Listening is also an art

Learn to listen carefully to your interlocutor, maintaining an expression of polite interest on your face, without a hint of impatience or, even worse, indifference. If you do not agree with his words, do not rush to interrupt the conversation with your arguments. Listen to the employee to the end, note the value of his opinion and only then express your vision of this issue. The ability to listen and take into account the opinions of subordinates will only increase your authority and win the respect of the team.

By applying the methods and tips described above to your management model, you will understand how to subordinate your subordinates, and perhaps become one of the best leaders of our time.


Manipulation as a hidden control implies a clever, cunning influence on a person aimed at achieving one’s own goals. In rare cases, the final goals are good, but manipulation, by its nature, is nothing more than an act of influencing people, quietly forcing them to make unfavorable decisions. Its main difference from voluntary submission is that a person is simply not given the choice to choose a path other than the one imposed.

In our case, the concept under consideration, depending on the character of the leader, can be used to achieve one’s own selfish goals or for the benefit of the company. Managing subordinates based on the principle of manipulation includes skillfully caused resentment, anger, fear, and guilt.

Relationships with colleagues

It is equally important to form equal relationships with equals in status. During the first week, try to meet and talk with each of the heads of departments with whom you will work. Treat them as equals. If this is acceptable for them, you can switch to “you”.

In relationships with colleagues of equal status, you need to show that they are not authorized to give you instructions. If they try to do this, you can politely but firmly say, “I understand you. I need to consult with my supervisor, Pyotr Petrovich.”

Resentment, anger

An unflattering phrase thrown casually or directly by a manager regarding the business qualities of an employee against the backdrop of extensive praise from another subordinate in 9 cases out of 10 achieves the goal, and all thanks to the sense of competition inherent in people. The stimulating statement looks something like this: “Petrov coped with the task brilliantly, but you can’t do that, can you?” or “You are no match for Petrov!”, or “You are not capable of anything, but Petrov!” The cocktail of explosive feelings that overwhelms the employee - anger, resentment, the desire to demonstrate his abilities and prove that he, too, can and can do a lot - pushes the manipulated person to perform a variety of tasks. Without thinking about the nature of his actions, the subordinate, without knowing it, contributes to the embodiment of the boss’s ideas.

Praise, flattery, encouragement

It's no secret that any person needs regular praise, encouragement and approval of their actions. A leader is the one who can give what his subordinates want. Well-deserved praise, a bonus system for the best employees, and recognition of their achievements are an effective tool for gaining the trust, respect of the team and inspiring them to even more brilliant results.

An effective management method is also advance praise, when the boss expresses gratitude to the subordinate in advance, for example: “I decided to entrust this task to you, since only you can handle it.” An encouraged and grateful employee (otherwise, “The boss thinks I’m the best, and I just can’t let him down!”) carries out the assignment with redoubled zeal and diligence. In this case, the boss, who clearly understands how to subordinate his subordinates, achieves two birds with one stone: he achieves excellent performance of the assigned task and increases the number of people loyal to him.


It is impossible to accurately determine the nature of fear of superiors: it can be caused by the authority of a despot leader, the weak will of a subordinate, or intimidation in the form: “For disobedience and failure to complete assigned tasks - dismissal!” A couple of intimidations, ending with the calculation of obstinate employees to confirm the words, will have the desired effect: employees who value their place will follow the lead of the boss. Only in this case, the relationship between the manager and the subordinate will be based not on respect and dedication in the name of the enterprise, but on the banal fear of losing their job.

The art of inspiration

It is important to be able to direct many people with different goals, varying degrees of efficiency and skills onto a single path. To do this, it is necessary to find an individual approach to each team member, find out his aspirations and motives and, based on this, develop motivation. After all, when the motives are clear, it is easier to move forward, turning a disparate crowd into a strong, result-oriented friendly team. A leader must not only be able to inspire, but also maintain a fighting spirit, go against the wind, inflating faith in inevitable success when one involuntarily gives up... In addition, one of the excellent qualities of a boss in his arsenal is the ability to effectively and promptly resolve quarrels between employees without damage for both sides. But a professional leader’s “manager-subordinate” conflict occurs only once – at the very beginning of a managerial career, and even then not always.


Subordinates often pay attention to how competent their boss is in the area entrusted to him, whether he has the necessary knowledge and skills. You must be prepared for careful assessment, close interest and detailed analysis of your abilities on the part of your students. Therefore, you simply need to know almost everything about your activities, constantly improve and expand your knowledge base. In the eyes of the team, the leader is the embodiment of perfection, genius and a bright, unconventional mind, otherwise how did he manage to achieve this position? You don’t want to disappoint your employees, much less feel like an unworthy leader, by regularly asking them for help on issues that are unfamiliar to you? Study, analyze and constantly learn to become an ace in your field without putting your own responsibilities on your employees, otherwise what is the meaning of the concepts of “manager” and “subordinate”?


  • A manager in a new team must remember the importance of the first month of work. An algorithm proposed by the famous psychologist M.E. will help you adapt. Litvak.
  • The main tasks of the first period are establishing relationships with your boss, colleagues (equal in status) and managing subordinates.
  • You need to obey your boss, form equal relationships with colleagues, and manage your subordinates.
  • Study your subordinates.
  • On the first day, gather everyone, tell them about yourself, ask them to do the same.
  • Determine the format of communication. It's better to address yourself as "you".
  • Ask them to continue working as before. Watch.
  • Study internal documents, local regulations, regulations, delve into business processes, prepare interaction schemes for yourself.
  • Determine group dynamics, identify informal leaders.
  • After two weeks of work, call a meeting. Praise loyal employees, talk to disloyal ones. Tell us how you see the work of the department in the future.
  • Do not make friends among your subordinates - otherwise it will be difficult to achieve authority in the new team.

Have you ever become the leader of an unfamiliar team?
Share your experience in the comments to the article! Subscribe to the telegram channel of the Russian School of Management @rusuprav Author: Yulia Zhizherina Business coach in labor law and personnel management

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