So – I’m probably gonna get kicked out of the girl club for this – but I’ve had it up to about freaking HERE (hand sweeping across the top of my head) with this bossy girls = leadership skills nonsense. I’ve seen this picture with the little girl shaking the stick at the little boy all over Facebook and Pinterest for the past 2 weeks and every time I see it I just shake my head in disbelief.
Where do I even start?
As I so often like to, I’ll start from my heart – my mommy place. As the mother of a son, I’m so offended by the picture of a little girl shaking a stick at a little boy. Why is that okay? Why does a little boy deserve to be on the business end of an abuse of power? Why does ANYONE deserve to be on the business end of an abuse of power? If it was a picture of him shaking a stick at her he’d be (rightfully, in my opinion) labeled as abusive, dangerous, and despicable. She gets to be expressing her leadership skills. I just see her as a bully.
Professionally, I’m mortified. I’m mortified as a woman, and as a professional who has led successful teams for many years. Here is the thing – whether you’re a man or a woman – if you’ve got to use a stick you’re not a leader, you’re just a bully. Yep, you’ve moved right past bossy into bully. If you’re using a stick, you don’t have leadership skills. If you’re using a stick, you’re driving from behind the team. You’re bullying them to the finish line. Want to know if you’re a leader? Look behind you. If your team is following you, you’re a leader.
Maybe I’m just taking this whole thing too seriously. Maybe this cute little picture is actually just women making fun of themselves – a little self-deprecating humor at how we’ve gone too far to the other side. A smart-alecky little look at the ways in which some women have excused their questionable behavior by trying to give it a more positive label. The pendulum has swung so hard to the other side that we’re trying to laugh our way back to the middle. Maybe. Maybe not. But a girl can hope, can’t she? Its my sincerest hope that women are looking at their behavior and starting to hold themselves accountable when they label their questionable behavior as “leadership skills”.