Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
LEADERSHIP / JUL. 20, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Manage Bossy Employees

bossy employees
istock

What if you were assigned the task of overseeing the affairs of employees that are more qualified or more experienced than you are? Moreover, what if such employees questioned every decision making process in a bid to belittle your position in the company? This situation is likely to occur especially in situations where the employees were previously supervisors held in high regard or are just mere bullies brandishing their egotistical tendencies. These are just but a few examples of bossy employees that one is likely to encounter especially if your career streak largely relates to management. So how does one handle bossy employees?

#1 Lead by Example

If you’re the kind of manager that likes giving orders, then you should expect some spirited confrontation from bossy employees especially if you’re the one breaking the rules. Therefore, you’ve got to lead by example in all aspects. Not just in leadership roles, but also in company affairs such as:

  • Observance of simple etiquette such as dress code and clientele professionalism since you’ll constantly be scrutinized by your employees to set the tone of excellence in such company matters.
  • Sticking to the standard requirements of your performance contract. This will encourage disciplined focus and hard work in the workplace. Standards may include factors such as time of reporting, work rate and work quality and so forth.
  • Avoidance of corrupt malpractices should be prioritised by being integral and honest to your employees. That way, employees will follow suit and disclose any loopholes that might occur under your watch.

#2 Delegate Key Decision making to Humble Employees

You want to show your bossy employees that you don’t appreciate haughty behaviour in the workplace. Therefore, in a bid to avoid cowing to their arrogant antics, you’ve got to reward those that are level headed by delegating key decision making assignments to them. This will give you the following advantages:

  • You’ll tame egos across the board.
  • You’ll gain favour from humble employees by showing them that you actually notice and appreciate their humility.
  • You’ll reduce chances of an office coup hitting you hard when you least expect it.

#3 Be Specific about Penalties for Employees that Break the Rules

While some children are always more than eager to stick their fingers into the sugar jar, others automatically avoid it despite the fact that it’s actually within their reach. Therefore, in a bid to make a serious stand amongst bossy employees, you’ve got to do the following:

  • Make them aware about the penalties they’ll surely face if they break certain rules.
  • Avoid being hesitant in the execution of penalties since a leader is deemed weak and incompetent if he’s slow in the pursuit of justice. 

#4 Stick to Company Policy in Conflict Resolution

At times, you’re likely to be engaged in a confrontation with a bossy employee. And things can get ugly verbally or even physically if the employee is more physically built that you are. Therefore, in a bid to avoid succumbing to rage, you’ve got to do the following:

  • Stick to company policy in conflict resolution. For instance, if the company policy dictates that superiors should handle the conflict, then leave the latter handle the situation.
  • At times, you might actually be the superior at the zenith which means that you’ll have to assign conflict resolution roles to mature, experienced and responsible senior employees. That way, an unbiased judgement will be issued.
  • Ultimately, you should try to remain humble and accept responsibility if you’re the guilty party.

#5 Establish Friendly Ties with your Superiors, Manager Peers and Mentors

Being a manager is a tough call and treading this road alone can be quite lonesome and exhausting. Plus, you’ll also find yourself making rash and unwise managerial decisions when confronted by the pressure of bossy employees. However, you don’t have to keep fighting your battles alone:

  • Your immediate supervisors are likely to be more experienced and well versed with such delicate affairs and are thus better suited to give you crucial advice in times of managerial adversities. 
  • You may have some manager peers in other companies who must have done things differently yet in a much more effective way. Consult them as well.
  • Your mentors have shown you the way over the years. Take advantage and learn from their wisdom to avoid making rash and uninformed management decisions.


In politics, when a leader wants to unite his people, he has to come up with a common enemy. Therefore, in a bid to bond with your bossy employees, you’ve got to come up with a common huddle. Maybe it’s the company’s imminent collapse that needs to be averted or a rival company that’s about to bring yours down. Whichever the case may be, you can’t afford to simply watch as you’re overthrown because you couldn’t give your employees a sense of meaningful purpose. You’ll therefore have to avoid this by being creative and occupying your bossy employees with a common cause that’s in line with company goals. And just to be clear, it should be a meaningful cause and not just mere propaganda...

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