- Let go of perfectionism. Sometimes we're bossy because we want things done right, and there's nothing wrong with striving for a job well done, is there? The thing is, there's more than one way to achieve a good result, and just because your way is the most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B doesn't mean it's the best way. By assuming your way is the best way, you lock out the creativity of others, and you also chip away at morale. Both of these things are limiting factors in the long run, and that's not a good result.
- Be patient. When you're used to being in the role of leader (or dictator or tyrant, in the eyes of others) it can be excruciating to step aside and wait for someone else to step up, and even more torturous to watch them fumble at a task that you can accomplish so quickly and easily. But what's the rush? Will it really be the end of the world if things don't go as smoothly as planned? Relax. Take a deep breath. Wait.
- Invest in people. Many bossy people focus their attention on incompetence, and they fail to notice potential and progress. Try to be more alert to people's individual talents. Give positive feedback. Lots of it. Don't just see people as tools, as a means to an end, as machines. In order for people to think for themselves, they need to learn, and in order to learn, sometimes we need to make mistakes. Trust them, and give them a fair margin of error. Let them know that you're there to help, but don't watch over their shoulders or take over their tasks.
- Improve your communication skills. Many times it's not what you say that comes off as bossy, it's how you say it. Your tone and phrasing can make a person feel like an incompetent cog in a machine, or it can make them feel like you're inviting them to reach a worthwhile goal with you. Learn How to Practice Nonviolent Communication and How to Give a Feedback Sandwich.
- Strive for consensus. Nothing fosters team-building like consensus-building. Even though it's more time-consuming than democratic voting (i.e. majority rules), the consensus process is more likely to result in all parties reaching common ground. You can be a facilitator, ensuring that everyone's opinion is heard, and that a decision is made that is satisfactory to everyone involved.
- Ask for honest feedback. Explain to people that you know you can come off as bossy or domineering sometimes, and you'd like to change your style. Ask them to let you know when you're coming off as bossy, whether by pulling you aside, or even by sending you an anonymous note or e-mail. Be humble and request their help.
- Being bossy does not necessarily make you a good boss. Following the steps in How to Be a Good Boss does.