Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I'm Not Bossy

It's crazy how people still think disparities in treatment between genders don't exist. We love to believe that just because we have come so far it automatically means that we are done making changes.

Consider the journey for equality like remodeling your house. When everything becomes outdated and it is evident that progress needs to be made - you make it. You try to keep as much of the existing framework in place and you build from there. You repaint, redecorate, and refurnish. And at the end of it all you grab your glass of wine and soak in all the hard work you've done.

Then ten or fifteen years pass and you realize that all your hard work is starting to fall apart. The walls have a few holes, paint is chipping... it's rather disappointing. At one time it was something you were proud of - something you saw as an important way to invest your effort and time, but now it seems as though that pretty picture isn't so pretty anymore due to being damaged over time or even poorly maintained.

Our journey for gender equality should be looked at in the same fashion. The progress we make should never indicate that we are forever finished or as if there will never be anymore work to do. And I think one of the steps to gradually fixing this issue is ending the era of female leadership being labeled "bossy."

The reality is, when a man stands up before his peers and pushes for change he is considered a leader, but in a lot of cases if a woman exhibits these same behaviors she is considered bossy.Sure, we've made plenty of progress on this specific subject as women have time and time again proven that they have just as much if not more leadership potential than men (remind me again why we should have had to "prove" this while with men it was assumed - just for those of you who think there isn't an issue). But remember what I said early about progress... with certain things you can make as much progress as you want, but there will always be room for improvement, especially after time passes.

I know what you're probably thinking and inside your head you're jumping out of your seat to raise your hand like a frantic fifth grader. "What if a woman really is being bossy? Am I not supposed to tell her she's being a bad leader just because she's a woman?" No, of course not. In fact, you're hurting her and her potential more by not telling her. When someone - anyone - is being a bad leader they should be pulled aside and made aware of their behavior. But that's just it - it shouldn't just be because of their gender. Whether you're a man or you're a woman, if you are genuinely exhibiting poor leadership then you should most definitely be held accountable. But if the only reason they seem bossy is because they have a pair of boobs - try again.
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