Employee ExperienceLearning and Development

How To Be a Leader at Work Without Being Bossy?

3 Mins read

‘How To Be a Leader at Work Without Being Bossy’ has a total of 2,310,000 results in Google Search. Imagine that. Imagine how many people want to learn or share how to be a better leader without sounding or looking bossy, and how many others would like to have such team members. 

Now, there is a difference between being a leader and being bossy. The two don’t complement each other – in fact, they are two different things. 

without being bossy

A boss usually has ‘a know it all’ mentality, while a leader is open to new suggestions. A boss tends to criticize the team members, while a leader encourages growth and change. Bosses tend to micromanage and allow little space for self-initiative, while leaders guide team members to find solutions.

Data-based, 1 in 5 people don’t like their bosses, which makes up 20% of the workforce. While the reason remains different, ‘bossy’ behaviour is often found to be one. For this reason, to improve leadership and create a better environment for your team members, we advise the following 5 tips:

Tip One: Value Your Employees

The number one tip on how to be a leader at work without being bossy is to value your employees. Teams at work don’t always have the most positive energy, but we believe it’s a manager’s duty to change that.

There are two ways you can show appreciation to your employees:

  • Financial token of appreciation (bonuses, gift cards, coupons, etc.)
  • Verbal recognition (words of appreciation, accolades).

No matter which way suits your better, they both seem to show the same results. Both ways make employees feel valued and leave them motivated for further work. 

Tip Two: Embrace The Team Mentality

Very often, bossy behaviour comes as a result of not understanding the team mentality. Thinking that you are above your team in terms of authority, roles and responsibility fades the team spirit. Every person, no matter their position at an organization should understand that teams are what make or break you – and that everyone should work towards a common goal. 

Additionally, team members have different mentalities. A good leader understands the employee’s personalities. While some people love taking initiative, others love to follow ideas and instructions. If you can evaluate how different team members perceive your direction, it will be very easy to be a better leader and not so bossy. 

Tip Three: Use All The Help You Can Get

A boss at work delegates tasks, while a leader delegates tasks and authority. Receiving help from your team members not only in terms of day-to-day tasks but also responsibility is crucial. 

Be a leader at work without being bossy by spending time and resources on hiring the right people, so when the time comes to delegate tasks, you have no doubts. This way, you create a sense of confidence and trust in the workplace. You remove some of the work stress by empowering your staff – win, win. 

be a leader

Tip Four: Be Transparent

Our fourth tip on how not to be bossy is to always be transparent. I believe on daily basis you have heard people complaining about their bosses not being consistent and transparent, and it’s no surprise. It’s difficult, not to say impossible for your team members to thrive if they don’t know what is expected from them. 

To mitigate this, always be transparent about the work process, deliverables, expectations, and further evaluation. Only this way the employees will be clear on what to do and will consider you more of a leader, and not so bossy. 

Tip Five: Encourage Communication

Always leave the door open for your employees. No matter if it is small talk or a bigger issue, open communication between you and your staff is crucial. If your staff feels free to come and discuss with you whatever challenge or inconvenience they are facing, it will reduce stress on the team. Additionally, the work environment will feel less authoritative and more collaborative.

Each of these tips can help you how not to be bossy, but rather be a leader who encourages, motivates, trusts, and grows their team. Tina Fey said it best…

“Being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”

Tina Fey

Further Reading:

Direct Leadership Style
Understanding Psychological Screening Inventory (PSI)
Gratitude Wall Ideas

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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