On the Recent Idea of Banning the Word, “Bossy” Part 1

In the recent discussions of banning the word “bossy,”* I sincerely hope that both women and men would conduct a self-examination of their own leadership style.

There is no need for anyone to defend the word, “bossy,” as if the characteristics the word usually reflects are desirous; or to attack it, as if the use of this word can only reflect the user’s poor view on ambitious women. Ambition is one thing, but there is a huge difference between the effects of someone’s ambition and what we usually “feel” when someone is “bossy” because such a person makes us feel manipulated, un-respected, and walked over. No one should be defending that sort of negative, “bossy” behavior, as if leadership or management require it. We have all met people of either gender, who are confused about how to lead others, thinking that the need to support their own importance gives them a license to tear others down.

We should all be sure that no one has genuine reason to accuse us of being a bossy person, because the connotations of the word have more to do with a lack on our part, not our gifts, no matter our gender.


* Drexler, Peggy. “Sheryl Sandberg wrong on ‘bossy’ ban.” CNN. 01 Jan. 1970. Cable News Network. 13 Mar. 2014 <http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/opinion/drexler-sandberg-bossy/>.

Mcfadden, Cynthia, and Jake Whitman. “Sheryl Sandberg Launches ‘Ban Bossy’ Campaign to Empower Girls to Lead.” Video blog post. ABC News. 10 Mar. 2014. 14 Mar. 2014 <http://abcnews.go.com/US/sheryl-sandberg-launches-ban-bossy-campaign-empower-girls/story?id=22819181>.

Rogers, Katie, and Ruth Spencer. “‘Banning bossy isn’t the answer’: What real parents say about Sandberg’s plan.” Theguardian.com. 13 Mar. 2014. Guardian News and Media. 14 Mar. 2014 <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/13/ban-bossy-sheryl-sandberg-quotes-real-parents>.

Wente, Margaret. “Ban ‘bossy’? Suck it up, girlsAdd to …” The Globe and Mail. 14 Mar. 2014 <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/ban-bossy-suck-it-up-girls/article17470665/>.