Bossy vs. Leadership Skills

So there’s this movement now to get people to stop using the word “bossy” to refer to girls or women who are more assertive and instead tell them they have good leadership skills.  While I get the idea behind the movement to change the stereotypical view of girls and women as either being too bossy OR inferior, meek, weaker, and not as capable of being in charge and see the need for that change (see my previous post titled “Respect“), I’m not sure this campaign is the right approach.

It’s unfortunate that girls and women who do have good leadership skills are seen as being bossy or aggressive, and that should stop, but that doesn’t mean that people who are actually bossy necessarily have good leadership skills.  There are plenty of girls (and boys) who like to tell everyone else what to do and like to be right all the time but don’t have good leadership skills because they are not team players.  They just like to bark orders, which IS being bossy.

Having good leadership skills involves taking other people’s ideas into consideration, delegating, being able to get people to work together, making decisions that are for the good of the team or group and not just themselves, etc.  So to ask that we tell every girl who is bossy that they have good leadership skills instead is asking too much and is off the mark.  I know plenty of males who I would say are bossy too, but I would not say they have good leadership skills either.

What I would like to see happen is for children to be taught the difference between being bossy and having good leadership skills and that regardless of whether you are a boy or girl, having good leadership skills is a better quality to have than being bossy.


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