The problem was that try as I might, I couldn’t change. Eventually I learned that this is who I am. This is how I’m hard wired. This is how God made me. My DISC style is DC. That means that I’m task oriented, direct, focused, and I make things happen. I take risks but usually after research and careful consideration.
One day, I decided that it wasn’t me, it’s that word “bossy” and all it conjures up inside me.
Interestingly, many of the people who have called me bossy are women. Once, I was a new CEO for a nonprofit and I was at a workshop with the board chairperson, also a woman. I made the comment to her that we should do whatever it was the speaker was suggesting (this organization needed a lot of help). Her response to me was that I was a lot bossier than my predecessor, also a woman. I was shocked! What did she say? Did she really just call me bossy? I’m the CEO for cryin’ out loud! I’m supposed to be bossy!
So, I’m bossy. I guess I just need to try harder. To be what? Nicer? Sweeter? Kinder? Gentler? What?! Someone please tell me how I’m supposed to be!
I was exhausted.
One day I was talking with my coach (get yourself one of those by the way) and she suggested that I write a new definition of “bossy”. Great idea!
Because I’m a “C”, I ask a lot of questions so I researched the word. Did you know it also refers to a cow? Yep, bossy is another word for a female cow. Flattering, huh? Other definitions include domineering.
No wonder I felt so bad when people called me bossy.
I also found that many successful women have been called bossy. Tina Fey’s autobiography is titled “Bossypants”. Beyoncé says, “I’m not bossy, I am the boss.” I’ll bet Hillary Clinton has been called bossy a few times and what about Oprah? Amy Poehler, Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Queen Elizabeth? I think I’m in pretty good company.
So, I decided to embrace my “bossy” and change the definition:
Bossy means that I am confident and knowledgeable. I take charge and get things done. I have great leadership skills. I know what needs to be done and I don’t mess around. I’m straight forward and to the point in my communication, and yes, sometimes I tell people what to do when they don’t know themselves.
I am bossy and I’m proud of it. When people say I’m bossy, I say thank you – they’ve paid me a great compliment and they don’t even know it.
If you’re a bossy woman, change the definition for yourself — write your own or use mine, I’m happy to share.