I told my wife she loves it when I tell her what to do. She laughed and said, “YOU love it when I tell you what to do.” I replied, “Yes, I do.” She laughed and told me, “No, you don’t.” I told her, “Don’t be so bossy.”
The term coaching is a brag-point for leaders in today’s woke world. You hear things like, “I coached her to success,” or, “He needs coaching to deal with his blind spots.” Bossy bosses comfort themselves by avoiding the truth. They really mean, “I told them what to do.”
Bossy isn’t all bad.
Avoiding the truth is ruinous empathy.
How to be bossy:
#1. Tell – don’t ask:
Don’t say, “Where do you think it is?” when new employees ask, “Where’s the restroom?” Telling people what to do – giving direction – is wonderful. Everything isn’t a conversation. Novices need instruction. Persistent poor performance needs correction.
Explain expectations. Blurry expectations produce repulsive results.
#2. Ask – don’t vacillate:
Ask direct questions. Beating around the bush is a pocket of nails without a hammer.
- “I need you to build supportive relationships with your team. What would you see team members doing if you had supportive relationships with them? Be specific.”
- “What are some ways you can do that?” The words ‘better’ and ‘more’ are not acceptable responses. Listen for specific actions that aren’t currently practiced.
- “How have you built supportive relationships in the past? How might you bring those skills to this situation?”
#3. Support – don’t abandon:
Offer support after challenge. “This is the third time this issue has reared up. I need you to build supportive relationships with team members. How can I help?” Support could be direct. “I want you to take this course to improve your emotional intelligence.”
Confront people for their advantage. Kim Scott says when you challenge directly you must care personally.
When is it appropriate to be bossy?
What suggestions do you have for dealing with people directly?