“Don’t be so bossy” is a phrase I’ve uttered many times to my own daughter, but it is 2018 and it is time to stop saying that. I recently came across an initiative from Girl Scouts of America called “Ban Bossy” and it really made me stop in my tracks and think about the kind of message we are sending to our girls when we call them bossy. I cannot think of a single time that I’ve ever heard a boy referred to as bossy. Nope, not once. Boys that give direction or take control of situations are deemed to have leadership skills or are said to be assertive, not “bossy”.
Being the mother of a remarkably assertive daughter, I’m pushing myself to stop using the word bossy and to do the best I can to foster and further develop these natural directorship abilities that she appears to have been born with, and I urge all mothers to do the same. When we tell our girls not to be bossy I think what we are really trying to convey is that it’s okay to want to be in charge, but just be kind when doing it and take other’s ideas into consideration.
The idea of boss versus leader really resonated with me. I’ve had the opportunity to have some fantastic leaders in my career and I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of a few terrible bosses. A genuine leader inspires rather than intimidates, teaches instead of tells, listens rather than hears, develops people instead of using them, gives credit rather than taking credit, and asks instead of commanding.
These leadership skills are what we need to be instilling in our daughters and encouraging them to become leaders instead of shushing them and stifling these fantastic management skills just because they are girls. More than ever, this world needs articulate leaders that we can believe in and trust, so let’s raise our girls to be those leaders.