Boss or Bossy?

When you hear the word supervisor, what crosses your mind - boss or bossy?  A recent survey of US leaders by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) tells us that that bossy is associated with many negative perspectives around supervisors… including micromanaging, aggressive, rude and controlling behavior, and a tendency to ignore other’s perspectives.  Furthermore, the study reveals that bossiness in the workplace is a big deal – in fact, 25% of the respondents said they’d been called bossy bosses, and 92% said they’ve experienced leaders of this same type[i] – with all reactions pointing to unpleasant experiences that impact the workplace.  

The good news?  This may be shifting…

Over 70% of these same respondents shared that bossiness in the workplace is on its way out – meaning that a bossy demeanor will more than likely squash your chances of promotion, disrupt your career trajectory, and certainly won’t get you labeled as a leader.  In fact, bossiness reflects a lack of interpersonal skills – those required to be an effective leader.  

While our intention may not be to portray a bossy persona, there’s a difference between intention and impact.  The Cure? Be proactive in finding out your impact with your team and within the organization.  Consider how you would describe yourself and your nature toward others – and then find some trusted colleagues and ask them the same questions.  How do they view you?  Is there alignment between the perspectives or might you discover some aha’s to cure that bossiness syndrome?  

Becoming intentional about your impact on others is step-one in developing effective relationships, shifting the culture around you, and becoming a super star leader.  It’s a developed skill set that builds an environment of ownership, promotes a culture of empathy, and creates a space where shared ideas drive organizational effectiveness.

[1] Clerkin, C., Crumbacher, C., Fernando, J., & Gentry, W. (2015). How to be the boss without being the B-word (bossy). Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/HowToBeBoss.pdf

Written by Shalyn Eyer