Be The Boss Without Being Bossy

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Being a commanding boss who engenders his employees respect doesn't mean being tyrannical. How can you strike the right balance being a boss people want to work for and being one that's just downright bossy?

Tyrannical bosses are the stuff of fiction, surely? Or maybe not.

Be The Boss Without Being Bossy

Sadly there are still a few people who wield what they see as their power over their employees. But it doesn't always do them much good. In fact what usually happens is that the employees resent being treated in disrespectful way and don't perform to the best of their ability.

Why? Well, most of us will go the extra mile if we feel our work is appreciated. Most of us won't if we feel we are being bullied, and overt bossiness is tantamount to bullying.

If you secretly suspect you are a bossy boss, but aren't yet prepared to admit it, how about taking the first steps toward changing the way things are in your work place. Here are some tips on how to wean yourself off of what is essentially an addiction to power play.

  • If the premium parking spot, most comfortable chair or the newest fax machine can be better put to use by someone other than you, then give these items to that cause. Having the best this or the best that does not a successful boss make. If you are prepared to forgo the trappings in the greater interest of your staff and your company you are well on the way to ditching the 'I am all powerful' attitude that has been holding you back.
  • Always say please and thank you. Say it in person. Say in on the phone. Say it in your emails and memos. Just because you are the boss doesn't give you license to ignore common decency. Quite the opposite, you should try to be a good role model.
  • You are not a dog so don't bark orders. Make your requests politely.
  • Remember that many adults carry with them a preconceived idea of what bossiness actually is. Most of the time this stems from childhood. Children innately know the difference between fair discipline/guidance and downright bossiness. Never use the 'because I said so' routine on your employees.
  • Remember that you are not God or a Monarch. You are a person, so are your employees.
  • Don't use fear or threats as weaponry. Threatening to fire someone as a means to get them to act is not professional. You should only ever bring up the subject of dismissing a staff member if you have serious cause to consider it. Even then the situation should be dealt with diplomatically.
  • Do you shout? Then stop it! Stop it NOW! (Apologies, that was a little bit bossy, just seeing how you like it!) Try speaking a little more quietly, and a little mores lowly. Many bosses are bossy because they are stressed. That anxiety can be infectious and make the workforce stressed too. Speaking in a calm and measured way will actually make you feel less pressured. Try it.

No one's saying you have to be everybody's new best friend. That can be as prohibitive to success as being the bossy boss. Somewhere in the middle is fine. You don't want your employees to be scared witless of you, but they needn't be in love with you either.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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