Bossy or leader?

This photo made me chuckle. Growing up as the oldest of eight children I was often called “bossy” by my younger relatives. Despite being the oldest child, I was also the eldest girl. This meant I was immediately born into responsibilities whether I liked it or not. It simply came with the role.

Like most siblings, as grown adults, my brothers and sisters and I often share stories of growing up as well as our personal maturities of youth and the struggles through adolescence. Fortunately, as we have aged, they no longer remember me as the bossy big sister but as “the glue” that very often kept things from going amok. The revelation of this pleased me because as an adult, an older sibling, mother, grandmother of five under age five and entrepreneur, I am proud to be revered as either.

Is there a difference? I’m glad you asked. To me, there is not much, if any, difference. Whether bossy or a leader you can confidently say, “I am tough, ambitious, and self-assured in what I need and what I want. I am tenacious and sure that I can get the task done. I don’t just have dreams, I have goals and the gumption to make them a reality. I can match my words with my actions and would never expect anyone to do anything I would not expect from myself. I lead by example, not telling what to do but demonstrating ways to get things accomplished. I realize that the role vested to me is about influence, impact, and inspiration and I do not take that lightly. I may not often take the time for pleasantries, but I always make time to show my appreciation.”

But, if there be any difference I feel it would lie within the perception of the recipient. Take a moment, if you will and think of someone that you feel is “intense” for lack of a better word. Someone that may always seem to be barking orders, have their hands in loads of situations or seem to take control of everything. Now try to look at their words and actions through a different lens. Where some call them intense, others may view them as passionate. Where one may be reviewed as pushy another may see them as ambitious. Where one hears criticism, another welcomes new growth opportunities.

To me, whatever term you choose to call us – we know that we are a badass with a big heart. We are both strong yet soft. We are unapologetic and honest. We are the type of woman you want in your corner, by your side and holding the glue together with you.

I particularly love the way actor and comedienne Amy Poehler views this topic. She says, “I love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading. In fact, a bossy woman is someone to search out and celebrate. A bossy woman is someone who cares and commits and is a natural leader.”

Girl, it’s time to focus on the sparkle. Not just within the leaders and bossy women around you but within yourself. Focus on your strengths, your leadership skills and capitalize on those gifts. Reposition your lens. Leaders become great because of their ability to empower others. So, come to grips with what you truly bring to the table and do not let another’s viewpoint taint your calling. Remember, where one may see bossy, another sees badass!

© c. michelle bryantMichelle Bryant is an entrepreneur, nationally acclaimed award-winning artist, inspirational speaker, self-published author of five books available at most online retailers, a multi-award winning, published photographer whose work is nationally used for worldwide marketing campaigns and featured on various items including but not

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