I have been bossy my entire life. I’m bossy in my business life as well as my personal one. I’m sure that plenty of people have called me bossy behind my back. They certainly have to my face. I know that I must not have liked It at the time but it never altered my life one bit nor did it give me much grief.
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook, has started a worldwide campaign through her Lean In organization to ban the word “bossy” when it comes to describing women because it has caused major career setbacks. Sandberg also said it deflates a young woman’s self esteem and discourages her from becoming a leader.
While I agree with Sandberg that calling someone bossy could be discouraging and hurtful, it should not be that painful for any woman.
This kind of thinking reminds me of the women I know who are afraid to walk Into a Louis Vuitton or Gucci store because they feel intimidated. That infuriates me because the sales staff are ordinary ladies who are taught to adopt a certain attitude. I tell friends to pretend they are the female version of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. They have to demand that the retail staff suck up to them. It works every time.
My advice to women is to get a number of significant achievements under their belts before acting like a know-it-all. No one likes a smarty-pants. Once they have made their mark, then they can start asserting themselves. By the way, this is true for men too. Exercise common sense. You can’t go wrong.