There's a new war on words. It started with a group of pretty well-connected people who want to put a ban on the word bossy.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of the nonprofit group LeanIn.Org has teamed up with the Girl Scouts of USA to launch the Ban Bossy campaign. Celebrities including Beyonce, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Garner and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have also signed on.
Their goal is to ban the word bossy, which Sandberg believes can hold women back from leadership roles. And she's not just talking about the boardroom, but also the playroom where she believes girls are getting the wrong message at an early age:
We need to recognize the many ways we systematically discourage leadership in girls from a young age -- and instead, we need to encourage them. So the next time you have the urge to call your little girl bossy? Take a deep breath and praise her leadership skills instead.
I'm not ready to jump on the Bossy Ban bandwagon anytime soon. Sometimes, you just need that word bossy to describe a certain situation. As a 14-year-old girl, I feel I'm somewhat qualified to weigh in on this subject because I've seen my fair share of bossy. And, it can be pretty ugly -- and it comes in all shapes, ages and genders. Bossy is not just reserved for girls, but boys can be called out on it too.
The thing is, there are a couple of different degrees of bossy. There's the bossy with benefits: the take-charge leader of the game or group project that people feel they can depend upon to get the game going or get the job done. This is the kind of bossy people respect; it puts the boss in bossy.
Then there's the kind that gives bossy a bad name: the I'm in charge, you're not, you don't know how to be, so don't even think about it kind of bossy. This bossy behavior
borders on that other five letter b-word, bully, and there's nobody that wants to be known as that.
If the Ban Bossy campaign is all about empowering girls to be the best they can possible be, then I'm right there with it. After all, Sheryl Sandberg and the other successful women who have signed on must know a few things about girls achieving their goals.
So let's go ahead and praise those leadership skills but don't put a ban on the word bossy. Instead, teach girls and boys to embrace their bossiness, as long as it's the good kind, and more importantly, practice that elementary school mantra that kids learn in kindergarten because being called bossy is only the beginning.
In case you forgot... Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.
Peace Love Profits,