Why being bossy is a good thing.

Sometimes people need to be told what to do!

Julie Kenny
4 min readJan 18


Photo by Batu Gezer on Unsplash

Sometime around grade one or two, the little boy who sat next to me in the classroom called me bossy. I was devastated and vowed to myself to get better. I would have been eight or nine at the time.

Over the next however many years, I tried not to be bossy. However, I often failed, and my inner bossiness would come out. If people weren't moving quickly enough, I would push them to move. If no one was taking charge, I would start organising. And yes, occasionally, I would still be called bossy.

I managed to avoid that description because I learned more about influencing people as I matured. I understood more about emotional intelligence. In this way, I was able to use my bossiness more softly.

However, when stressed out. I will be bossy in highly emotional events where time is unavailable.

As I reflect on this, I would tell myself something different.

Being bossy is fine. People often need to be told what to do, and my motivations are I want to help. I want to get stuff done.

That said. Any behaviour overused or used with little self-awareness can become a problem. Mariam Webster defines bossiness as someone who enjoys telling people what to do. I work as a trainer, telling people what to do.

However, people don't actually like being told what to do.

Part of my self-development is taking what is a natural part of me and improving it. I have this innate need, but the delivery can be effective.

In training, my bossiness can lead to prescriptive sharing. Telling people what to do or think is limiting to people's development. I don't want to do that. Instead, I want people to learn from my experiences and discover what works for them.

How can I do that better?

I have been delivering training for more than fifteen years. I have, over time, developed an understanding of what works and what doesn't when we create workshops that lead people to make their conclusions and more learning.

Currently, I am reading Whoever tells the best story wins by Annette Simmons. She recommends telling stories as a way…



Julie Kenny

Writer | Executive Coach and Trainer | Triathlete | Mother | visit me at https://www.garnettrainingandconsultancy.com/