Monday, January 24, 2011

Bossy

This is a blog by request from my friend and business partner JB. 

"What is bossy?"

It started with an email she sent out to a committee we both sit on that is putting on a conference in late April.  We are all volunteers and trying to pull this conference together on email.  This is challenging.  So JB wrestled with the the tasks and program and who was on first..... and sent a clear, articulate and direct email to all with specific actions for specific people. 

She asked me today if I thought the email was bossy?
I said "Not at all - but I am almost as bossy as you so I am not really a good person to ask!!"
I then asked her to "get bossy" with another committee we have a paid gig with as their foot-dragging is driving me crazy.  She is on it!

It was a light-hearted exchange but is really bothers me that society in some ways applauds a person (especially women) for being assertive and articulate and "getting things done"..... there are so many ways we say this when we are affirming these traits (such a go-getter, always on task, yadda yadda yadda) but as soon as we are on the wrong side of those traits

assertive becomes bossy
articulate becomes mouthy or opinionated
getting things done becomes nitpicking (and other un-blog worthy names)

When I think bossy I think of a 5 year old , hands on hips,  assured that he/she is king/queen of the world and directing her subjects.  An adult might even smile at this behaviour and think its "cute" (I know Mom but its appropriate in this context!!) but when an adult does the same thing he/she is a bully being abusive!

Of course these generalisations are extreme but it is interesting to ponder.  I also think its something women get more flack for than men - do we really get drawn back to the Victoria notion of "unseemly conduct" when we speak our minds clearly?  When I googled "Bossy" today I found a website called "BossyMama - A business network for entrepreneurial women" - so maybe we do it to ourselves. :-(

So much has to do with "tone" and "context" but to me "bossy" still has more negative connotations than positive.

But sometimes bossy gets the job done, nice bossy that is :)




Google image of "Bossy"

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