When promoted to an executive position a few years ago, a friend gave me congratulatory card with a magnet that read, “I’m not bossy. I just have better ideas!!”
I laughed when I received that magnet. It wasn’t too far off the mark. Promoted as the youngest female vice president of a Fortune 500 company, that achievement did not come by being a follower without originality and gumption. As funny as I thought that magnet was, though, I wasn’t about to bring it into the office and set a tone of being close-minded.
I am not offended by the term bossy because I tend to remove the “y” and just think of it as “boss.” And in turn, I think of myself as a leader with a leadership style advocating for the employee and for each other. I also work with each individual to increase strengths and develop weaknesses supported by plenty of on-going feedback.
As part of my summer reading list, I finally cracked open Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. This book led to the creation of the Ban Bossy campaign by the Lean In Organization and Girl Scouts of America. A tenet of the campaign focuses on women predetermining advocacy for each other in the workplace where they ask opinions, reinforce ideas and provide support. I think this is a great idea, however, I do think it should apply to both genders. Think about this: what if in second grade during a math lesson, the teacher sent Billy into the hallway while she taught Sally, Susie and Betsy how to add? Billy would never learn the concept.
The Ban Bossy campaign also offers valuable resources and reference ideas on leadership. It focuses on how to help each other. I believe inspirational leadership is an all-inclusive process. Leave no employee behind.