Imagine getting to the office on a Monday morning.
You had a wonderful weekend and desperately wish it was a little longer! While checking your emails and getting ready for the week, there is a call from your boss. He is asking you to be in his cabin, right away. You oblige. In his cabin, you find few of your peers with a dreaded look. You sense something is not right.
It is in regards to the software release that went out the week before. It caused some serious problems and your boss apparently had a tough weekend. He is yelling at the QA who certified the release and the Development lead who coded the release. You are targeted briefly for your role as a Business Analyst. It all ended after a series of reprisals, gyaans, and decrees to get everything in order within few days.
You all go back with low morale, fear and an obligation to get things back on track.
There are several better ways but here is my version.
Yes – the boss, in this case, is being bossy. He is using his superiority, to pass on his troubles to the team. Though it is not obvious from the description, he might be blaming the team for the problems.
Context is very important in problem-solving. The boss could have started the discussion by explaining the incident that happened over the weekend. This would have taken the team members into the right mood. A blame often leads to defensiveness.
Second, the boss could have spent more time in understanding the team’s perspective of the problem. This often leads to an improved ownership of the situation and result in better solutions. If their perspectives aren’t asked for, the team’s morale dramatically goes down.
Third, the boss could have asked the team for their recovery plan. Rather than giving them a deadline (which is necessary in some cases), the boss could have encouraged the team to come up with one. Often, self-imposed deadlines work better and the team is motivated to stick to them.
So, what differentiates someone from being a boss to being bossy?