A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the WSJ about bossy little girls being leaders in the making. Next, I saw the public service announcement about banning bossy. Then, I visited the website banbossy. I must admit I had mixed reviews about the entire concept.
If I can be brutally honest, I know that I am not the only one that was on the receiving end of “the bossy girl’s” antics during grade school. The truth is there are too many young girls that have fallen prey to being bossed around. So, no I am not convinced that every little bossy girl is an emerging leader.
After leaving the website, I began to think of my own life as a little girl and then becoming a leader. I started my leadership career 26 years ago as a cadet in JROTC. I went to college on an ROTC scholarship. After serving 5.5 years as a commissioned officer in the Military Police Corps, I earned my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Finally publishing a leadership book in 2009. My credentials afford me the right to address this issue of banning bossing by making the distinction between bossy, bullying, and leaders.
Let’s begin by defining the terms. The definitions below are from the New Oxford American Dictionary:
- Bossy: giving orders and being domineering.
- Bullying: a person that uses power and strength to intimidate those that are weaker.
- Leader: The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.
- Lead: To be in charge of; to show the way.
We can deduce that there is a clear distinction between being bossy and being a leader.
As we empower our young women to grow and develop into future leaders let’s ensure that the title of a leader is in fact being given to the correct group of young ladies.
Might I suggest that as you begin to assess who is bossy versus who is a L.I.T. (Leader in Training) consider these leadership traits:
- Posses the ability to follow
- Provides guidance and direction
- A visionary
I would like to say that just like every girl who wants to be the next Beyoncé will not achieve that high level of success. Please do not insinuate that all of the bossy girls are leaders in the making. Yes leadership can be learned, but it is not for every little girl. It’s the reason we vet leaders before we place them in any leadership position. By no means am I discouraging nurturing and developing our young ladies to assert themselves as leaders. What I am suggesting is that if the young lady classified, as “bossy” does not possess leadership traits, do not resort to giving her undue credit because she has a strong opinion.
Are we really ready to ban a term that is actually needed to describe a group of young ladies that are not leaders? I Think Not!
In case you are wondering, yes I am a mother and yes, I have an 11-year-old daughter and she is not “bossy.”
Does Bossy Mean Leader…I Think NOT!