I read an article recently entitled, “Are You a Boss or Are You Bossy?”. Now if you ask my husband, he’d say bossy, but hopefully if you ask anyone who’s worked for me they would say a boss.
In the article, Dr. Cathleen Clerkin, of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) referenced a study that CCL did. She wrote that 92% of people surveyed said they’ve worked with someone they would consider bossy, and 25% said that they’ve received feedback that they are bossy themselves. And, the article went on to say that bossiness is a significant factor in career derailment.
I will admit that I’ve had to work on (and still have to work on) my bossiness. And yes, that is partly because I am female. Why do I say that? Because Clerkin’s article said that women are twice as likely to be perceived as being bossy. Over the course of my career I have definitely felt that certain things I did or said were viewed as bossy; however, if a man did the same thing, the word bossy would never have been used.
One of the biggest issues about being bossy (as opposed to being a boss) is explained very well by a Vince Molinaro post. He wrote, “When you’re in a leadership position, everyone is watching you. Even the smallest actions you undertake speak volumes about you, both as a leader and a human being. … leaders, we need to treat people around us the way we would want to be treated.” So if you are bossy others think it is OK to be bossy. (It is a great article; you can read it here: http://theleadershipcontract.com/2016/11/24/gut-check-do-you-pay-attention-to-the-little-things-of-leadership/)
Back to Clerkin’s article: She gives tips on losing a bossy image. She says that you need to think about these questions – Do you dictate and control others? Do you ignore others’ perspectives? Do you micro-manage? Are you rude and/or pushy? Do you like being the authority/are you power hungry? Are you aggressive? If you answered yes, here are some things to think about: Ask others for input and feedback. Share your intentions and reasons behind things. Be decisive, but don’t be dominant – when you ask others for input and feedback, make sure you don’t bulldoze them over. Broaden your view of success; it is not just about you being competent, it is about your team being competent.
I’ll hold you accountable for not being bossy if you hold me accountable!