Too Bossy to Be a Co-Worker?

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We’ve all worked with this pain in the posterior; these are the type of people that try to be the office alpha even though they have about as much power and responsibilities as you. Maybe you’re that kind of person, yelling screaming and cussing making everyone’s life miserable. Stop it. Like I said you’re making everyone’s life miserable. But, I guess you first have to know that you’re a bossy co-worker. Here are some tell-tail signs.

The Prison Rule Paradigm

When a new employee walks into the office, and you think to yourself “new meat” and approach them threateningly letting them know what they can and can’t do. I hate to break it to you buddy, but you’re a tad too bossy. If, on the other hand, you have the tendency to fill socks with batteries and bludgeon anyone within inches of their life that disrespects you…I hate to break it to you buddy, but you’re a tad too sociopathic.

Pulling Seniority

If you often pawn off your work to the youngest or least experienced person in the office, that is too new and scared to question why you gave them extra work…you might be a bit too bossy. Also, your model is a little broken because no matter how timid or bashful the new recruit is eventually they will figure out:

  1. You’re not the boss
  2. By being “not the boss” have no right to tell them what to do.

Instead of giving your work to other hapless employees, try doing it yourself. If you are truly overwhelmed by your workload (and not just guilty of being an incurable procrastinator) then you might even consider talking to management. If all goes well, you won’t have to act like the boss you’ll actually be the boss! Well, you won’t be the boss boss, but you’ll at least have a lackey.

Unsolicited Training

This is another sign of an over-autocratic co-worker; someone that voluntarily trains the newest members of the team. Even if no one ever asked you, including management. Sure you’ve been with the company for many tortuous (to others) years, and you have in-depth knowledge of the protocols and processes used. If you really think about it, though. If the boss thought you were able to train someone (if you had any people skills whatsoever), they would ask you to train that person. Otherwise interfering with someone else’s training which could confuse the new person, or even worse make them forget what their official trainer told them, resulting in them getting into trouble. Which yes, I admit would never happen if you were in charge of their training from the beginning. I’ll give you that, but only that.


The biggest problem with co-workers that are bossy is that they never communicate their need to lead to the people that can actually help them do it. If you feel that you have enough knowledge and experience to be a boss, it might be a good idea to express that to your superiors. Worst case scenario they tell you there aren’t any supervisors’ positions available at the moment, but they might keep you in mind when a new promotion opens up. Of course, you are going to have to work on that whole people skills thing first.

Let Things Take Their Course

If you are truly knowledgeable and experienced, then people will come to you for advice, help and mentoring. This will be much more valuable to both the team and administration than, giving unsolicited advice, imposing your authority (without having any) and dumping unassigned work on your co-workers. Hopefully, administration will take notice of your “extra” work and when the opportunity arises you will be promoted to a position with actual responsibilities, authority and ability to delegate tasks. Until then just be a little more passive in your bossy co-worker role.

Habit Breaking

Habits are extremely hard to break; I understand that, but if your behavior is becoming disruptive to productivity and you as an individual becomes an obstacle to work-flow, then your bad habit of bossing people around might become a detriment to your position…as in it might get you fired. Habit breaking is all about negative reinforcement, if you feel the impulse to boss someone around you can:

  1. Lock yourself in the restroom until the impulse leaves you
  2. Have a special pillow you can scream into if the urge is overwhelming
  3. Pinch yourself in sensitive parts of your body to distract yourself

Joking aside, though, when you feel the urge to boss someone around or give someone unsolicited training/advice step away from the situation. If you see that new person struggling, allow their supervisor the appropriate amount of time to assess it and solve it before acting. Before actually “helping” them go to their trainer or mentor and let them know that their new recruit might be struggling. If they think you are competent, they might even ask you to help them out.

Do you have a bossy co-worker you can’t stand or are you the bossy co-worker everyone hates? Let us know in the comment section below.