FROM Being Too Bossy TO Letting Others Lead

“This game is my idea!”

“I’m in charge!”

“You have to play it this way or you aren’t my friend.”

“No! We have to do it this way!”

Giving up control and letting others make choices is really hard, both for adults and kids. Not being the boss of a group can be very challenging for some of my students. Many of the kids I work with can be rigid, and want everything to go their way. If it doesn’t go their way, then they can get frustrated and bossy with their peers.​​​

Lily, the main character in the book “Being Too Bossy,” always wants to be in charge and struggles to let others lead. When I read this book with my students, I asked them if they ever got like Lily who always wants to be in charge. Many of them raised their hand and said yes. They really related to Lily and understood how hard it can be to let others lead. As one of my students put it, “but my idea is clearly the best!”

Reading this book with my students was exceptionally helpful in many ways. ​​It really helped them to see a character in literature who they could relate to. They could also see that they aren’t bad kids, they just have a behavior that needs to be worked on. I've worked on behaviors like these with Top ​​Secret Mission Cards, just like Lily has in the book.

One particular student of mine, who helped inspire Lily, got really excited when she got her top secret mission. She was motivated to try to participate in a group and not be the leader. She responded really well to the statement about how it is important to let others lead so they get an opportunity to try their ideas. That part made the most sense to her because then it has nothing to do with others not liking her ideas, but more to do with giving others opportunities to lead and share their ideas.

Another student of mine, who also struggles with being bossy, really liked the part of the book that explains what it means to be a good leader. We compared some world leaders who have demonstrated greatness and others who were more dictatorial. That made it clear to him how good leaders understand how important it is to listen to others.

Both of these particular students still struggle with bossiness, but now they have strategies to help them! My students are more apt to hear feedback and change their behavior because they realize that there are other kids that struggle with the same thing. Now, because of Lily, Top Secret Missions and our explicit work on social skills my students feel inspired and empowered about becoming great leaders.

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