How not to be bossy

Walking in nature can remind us of our own smallness in relation to our environment, and reduce our self-importance. Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

‘Bossy’ is a word we use from the outside of a person.  We use it to describe our experience of that person.  We mean that they tell us what to do, in a way that we find uncomfortable or painful.

We will, therefore, never know if we are bossy, unless we find out that other people experience our controlling words as painful.  If we learn that we are seen tat way, we may then wish to calm down that side of ourselves, to keep good relationships.

To stop being bossy:

  1. Firstly it helps to start with our beliefs.  If we truly believe that others need to hear our instructions, then we are unlikely to stop barking orders. If we truly believe that others’ views matter, we are less likely to be bossy.
  2. Secondly, behaviour. It helps to analyse our our detailed behaviour, and change our conversational style.

If we believe that only our view matters, and if we have inflexible behaviour, then we won’t change.

If we have a suspicion that we are bossy, then here is a three-point plan to reduce the behaviour:

  1. To work on our self-importance, we can go walking into nature. We can feel the size of the natural world, and of space.  The aim is to remember how insignificant we are, and our own wishes are, compared with the size of the cosmos. This can help us be more humble with our views.
  2. We can listen to ourselves for a day, and try to notice how much we speak from our own views, compared with how much we listen to others’ views.  We can try to keep a score. 
  3. We also learn to lead conversations with questions rather than statements, taking our lead from others where possible.

The above suggestions can bring us into better alignment with others, and prevent us taking over relationships with too much of our own control.