I'm not bossy, I'm the boss.

Photo credit: Christopher Morrison

I'm not easily offended. It's a skill I have - turning a criticism or put down into a compliment. But one word that would always cut deep and really upset me was "bossy".

I never loved Beyonce more than when "ban bossy" was released. It didn't stop people calling me bossy, and I didn't stop me being "bossy". In fact it gave me the power and encouragement to own it, and to now find my place as a "boss". But I might have missed something important. We all might have.

 

Be Bossy.

I was little miss bossy britches. I was that kid who would 'play schools' with my friends, but I was always the teacher and they were always the student. Somehow they often ended up in detention. I was called 'bossy' by friends, family, teachers - anyone who had the opportunity really. I hated it. I honestly didn't know how to not be bossy though; it was just 'me'. My year 6 teacher, Mr Appelt, called me bossy but said I had the opportunity to turn this into 'leader'. He said it was the same personality trait and that I had the power to change this weakness into my greatest strength. With some encouragement and guidance I went from achieving what I wanted, through fear, coercion or straight up domination (Primary School was intense), to leading people to achieve what they wanted through coordination, delegation and encouragement. He built me up, and then taught me how to use my gift for good. Please don't tell children they are bossy. Instead, tell them they have something great to give to the world and show them how to lead. God knows we need a new generation of leaders. Not bossy bullies. #relevant.

 

Be the Boss.

I don't think you need a vagina to know that women in business, and women in leadership, is a hot topic. It is one I am very passionate about because I am a freaking human being. Thank you Alicia Keys, I know a woman's worth is pretty bloody high. I know the struggle is real, and I know we almost have to overcompensate because the scales are still not quite even. The battle is still being fought, so we should celebrate the wins. So if you see progress being made, make sure you talk about it! It has the power to encourage and inspire others to believe in themselves and the possibility of them taking a position of leadership and power. So if you make it to the top, if you lean in, if you pull up a chair to the table, if you take control, or if you are the boss, then OWN THAT SHIT.

Side note (personal opinion): Celebrate the wins; your own and that of others. And you know what, if your friend who doesn't identify as a lady also achieves their goal and is a 'boss', I think it's great to celebrate that too! Sheryl Sanberg, often referred to as the "female CEO of Facebook", puts it well:

 

"In the future there will be no female leader. There will just be leaders."

- Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

 

p.s. everyone should read this book no matter your gender.

Be more than just a Boss.

Whether you are a boss, want to be a boss or just love the hashtag, I encourage you to rethink what it means to be a boss. Being the boss should not be the end, or the goal. It is actually a means to a much more important end.

Albert Einstein was a total boss in many areas of research, but that's not what he is known for; he is known for how he reshaped our understanding of the universe. Arianna Huffington, the woman behind The Huffington Post, is not only known for that role, but for the influence and impact she has because of it in the fight against climate change, supporting liberalist ideas and being a coveted journalist. Michelle Obama was the first lady, but went far beyond that role becoming loved for her work with the LGBT community, the 'let's move' campaign to combat childhood obesity, education in developing nations, and for paving the way for African American women. Steve Jobs, one of the most infamous bosses of our time, and by many accounts quite a terrible boss, is remembered for his innovative work in consumer electronics.

I don't want to be remembered as "the boss of The Real Thiel" or whichever other company I one day manage. I want to be remembered for the positive impact I have on the lives of my clients and hopefully on the world. Whether you are the boss or not your focus should be on producing something that contributes positively to society. Being the boss just gives you more opportunity to lead the direction and make shit actually happen. So go and do exactly that.

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