I am having some issues with a female co-worker. She is very fat, pushy, and manly (unlike me. I am working on the manly part.) and I am nervous about asserting my authority because I don't want her to complain to management. She is not a "direct report", so I don't have absolute responsibility for her, but I have considerably more experience and knowledge with certain things relevant to work which puts me in a position to give her direction (not to mention that I am the man).
Do you suggest that I grow a pair and take the risk of an escalating confrontation with the possibility of mediation or loss of my job? I am fairly certain that objectively speaking I am more valuable to the company, but I probably make more than her which is always a big consideration to management.
I wonder whether humans are instinctively aware of the principles of social interaction, so that they recognize that those with authority over them have the right to punish them and that they ought to obey. If this is true, it may be less of a risk to make her fear my authority. I have no romantic interest in her, but I believe that I may be morally obliged to make her submit to me.
You seem to think being born into a position of authority means people will automatically recognize and respect you. Your lack of dispositional authority however is the real problem here.
You're asking for situational advice. That's short term and never works because every new situation is different. You possibly anticipate every single curve ball. It's a losing battle. Action without vision is useless.