Embracing Bossy

Have you heard that Sheryl Sandberg wants to eliminate the word “bossy?” Her reasoning? Because the word “bossy” is used to describe girls who are confident and assertive which in turn makes them insecure and afraid of being leaders. WHAT?!? This is just crazy if you ask me.

Here’s what I think:

  • You can’t just eliminate a word because you don’t like how some people use it negatively.  If that was reasonable, acceptable and realistic I can think of a few other words that would be better off eliminated than bossy…
  • Instead of eliminating the word (and assuming) that girls will feel better about being leaders… we should support girls to be individuals, build their self esteem and celebrate their goals so that they will have the confidence and resilience to smile and persevere no matter what they are called.  We should support and encourage the characteristics and behaviors of leaders so that they will recognize the difference between that and bossiness.
  • Some people (both girls/women and boys/men) are just bossy.  They aren’t being leaders, they are just bossy!   They should be called on that.
  • Point is…we need to support girls (and boys for that matter) and teach them, support them how to be confident in who they are and their goals but also teach them to expect that if they overstep their “confidence” that they will be called on it.

My Bug is a confident 10 year old leader.  She is determined and creative.  She has big plans and isn’t afraid to share them.  She is out spoken and unwavering when she gets an idea.  She also can be dominating, pushy, manipulative and yes…bossy.  When she is bossy I wouldn’t want anyone to act like it’s ok.  Because it’s not!  I also wouldn’t want anyone to act like she isn’t capable or deserving of her goals.  In my opinion you need to acknowledge and define limits or else there is less satisfaction in the results.

Eliminating a word isn’t going to magically increase self confidence or self awareness.  Eliminating a word isn’t going to change other people’s attitudes.  If anything we should embrace the word and shift it’s connotation!

What do YOU think?

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