Bosses often have a bad rap. It seems all too many bosses are under the impression that in order to be a boss, they must also be bossy. But it’s high time you realize that boss is not synonymous with bossy, and all too many bosses don’t understand the difference.

You know what is synonymous with bossy? Overbearing. Pushy. Tyrannical. Oppressive. Does that sound like someone you want to be? Or as an employee, someone you’d want to work beneath? While you may sound tough to rule your office with an iron hand, controlling all those who work for you, tough is a card you really should only reserve for certain situations.

If that sounds like you, it looks like you may be both a boss and bossy. What you need to do to be a good leader is to know that you can be one without the other. Boss and bossy don’t have to go together. Being a boss without being bossy will make for a better work experience for not only your workers, but for you too.

Think about your days in the schoolyard. The bossy kids weren’t the fun ones to play with, and if you did play with them it was because they told you to, not because you wanted to do. Some people even called those bossy kids the bullies. There is no space in the workplace for bullies, and there is certainly no place for the bossy boss.

So where lies the difference between being a boss and being bossy?
Simply put, the definitions of the two vary greatly despite 80% of the word bossy being boss. Recognizing this difference will help you to become a good boss, while leaving behind those bossy tendencies. Being a good boss will make your employees want to work for you and have better productivity.

When used as a noun, the dictionary defines a boss is a person who employs or superintends workers; manager or a person who makes decisions and exercises authority. Sounds like the typical workload of a boss, right? Pretty typical and basic stuff.

But all too often, the lines between the two are fuzzy, and the definition of bossy, a person who is given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; or domineering, crosses with the definition of boss. That’s when productivity drops. That’s when employees lose interest in their jobs. That’s when it’s time to recognize just how ineffective being bossy is, and to learn how to be a boss.

Exercising authority is not the same as being overly authoritative
In a business setting, someone needs to be the one to be in charge, the one to make decisions and to make sure work is done in a timely fashion. This is when exercising authority is an integral part of being a boss. Some people need a push, and a boss is the one to do that.

Being overly authoritative instills fear in people. It makes people nervous to be at work, it makes your employees not want to work their hardest. You’ll probably have high turnover, and you’ll have dissatisfied employees. And your bottom line will suffer. People don’t want to work for a dictator, they want to work for a leader.

A boss will see when their team needs direction and will provide it in a constructive way. A bossy boss will try to control the situation by demanding certain things be done.

To superintend is not to order people about
Superintend is defined as the action of to overseeing and directing. Directing is not ordering. A good boss knows this and acts accordingly. Ordering people around makes you a dictator, while directing people makes you a leader.

When you give someone direction, you’re giving them the tools they need to complete a task, letting them do some of the work on their own, learning the skills rather than imitating them, and becoming a valuable team member who can think independently.

When you order someone what to do, they will probably begrudgingly do what you said, and wait for the next order, working in a very robotic manner. Robots are not empowered to learn new skills, try harder than they need to, or contribute meaningful ideas. They do what they are told and look for new jobs on their lunch break.

Employees need to know that you think they are capable, that you hired them because you know they can do the job. They need to be trusted to some extent that they can do their job on their own, without being ordered to do so.

A boss voices concern if their expectations for an employee aren’t being met, and helps to find a way to make it happen. A bossy boss will instruct what needs to be done without figuring out the root of the problem.

Be a Boss Boss, not a Bossy Boss
Boss has an alternative definition, albeit slang, but it’s a pretty good use of the word. Boss is used in slang as a synonym for awesome, excellent and fine. Aren’t those pretty boss words to live up to?

Being a boss boss means you’re able to recognize that being a bossy boss is not productive or an effective method of managing a team of employees.
Being a boss boss rather than a bossy boss means that you are an effective leader who has employees who are given the skills and tools to complete a task on their own rather than having to be ordered to do so.

Being a boss boss means that you are a person your employees want to work for, and are comfortable in their work setting.

And what does that all mean? You’ll have better employees, you’ll have a better reputation and you’ll be more successful than if you are embodying the concept of the bossy boss.
Now that you’ve seen the difference between the two, boss bosses, it is time for you to be the boss you’d want to have as your own boss.

Powered by Marion Fernandez & The Galiano Group Writing Team.