A few weeks ago, I was helping coordinate a work event in NYC and was directing people, including superiors of mine, where to put signage, room layout, etc. A short time later, I went for a run in Central Park with two peers and asked, “Was I being bossy in there?”
I should’ve stopped myself there. Why did I care? The assured me that I was not, that I was doing my job, but why would I even ask that question. As a female, when I assert power, I’m immediately concerned that others perceive it as being bossy.
I recently read about Ban Bossy, an initiative launched by the Girl Scouts and Lean In’s Sheryl Sanberg that encourages girls to lead. I love, love, love everything about it. (If you manage women, consider checking out this document.)
(Be your fierce self, Bey.) Here are four ways that we can ban bossy:
- Don’t call someone “bossy” — call them a leader. I know that I’m good at coordinating things. I’ve coordinated friends’ weddings! It’s one of the skills that I know that I can do well, so why would I question it?
- Be a mentor and encourage other women to participate. I’ve been fortunate to have supervisors who have allowed me at the table. At 25, I was pitching new business plans to potential clients. Since my time at Medifast, I’ve been involved in many projects that may not relate to public relations directly, but I’m able to contribute to the team and my professional growth.
- Step back when it isn’t your forte. We should all try to improve our skills and be better in areas where we lack, but if someone has the capability and a chance to shine, allow it. Give her a chance to run the room and see what she can do.
- Own your accomplishments! If someone says that you did a good job, simply say, “Thank you.” You don’t need to give reasons or say that it was luck. No, it was your abilities. Good job.
Also, share these tips and offer your own. Be a shoulder to lean on and lend an ear. Negotiate. Pursue. Collaborate.
I don’t know who said this, but I saw it in a post from Deana Haggag:
“When you’re climbing the ladder of success, don’t let the boys look up your dress.”