I am surprised to find out about Beyonce’s Ban Bossy Campaign led by Beyoncé. “I’m not Bossy, I’m the Boss,” is her tag-line. I get your position Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Garner, Sheryl Sandberg, et al. Bossy, Lippy, Smarty Pants. Maybe these terms mean to remind little girls to be nice. Maybe they’re even meant to remind grown women to be nice. Still, rather than ban these words, I think we should embrace them.
What’s wrong with being a Smarty Pants, or being Bossy? I want at least one Lippy person in my group; someone unafraid to tell me what’s on her mind. What’s on Miss Lippy’s mind, more times than not, is a litmus of what others are too nice to tell me. Then again, I was born a Lippy, Bossy, Smarty-Pants. No one told me those attributes were bad. Well, maybe once in a while Mom told me I was Bull-Headed. Inside my Smarty Pants head, I thought, she was bull-headed too. (Sometimes I knew enough to zip my Smarty-Pants lip.)
At my first real job— meaning one other than waiting tables or babysitting — I inspected wells and sewer systems at public facilities like bars and restaurants. I compared “what is” to “what should be,” and wrote official letters telling owners how to get their facility up to code. I liked meeting new people. I liked helping work out logical solutions to their problems. More than that, I liked explaining what needed to be done, and why. I liked being in charge.
“You know what?” I said to my husband. “I like telling people what to do.”
“I know that’s supposed to be a bad thing to say, but I’m really good at it.”
I went on to have a successful career in leadership positions in Corporate America. The first time I got asked to be chairman of a break-out committee, I smiled and said, “I’ll be the WIC, the Woman in Charge.” I my newly minted term. A WIC, conjured up a conduit to getting things done, like the wick of a candle. I’ve been a leader most of my career.
I try to blend listening, compassion, and collaboration with demanding deadlines and challenging goals. Well, guess what, I’m the Woman in Charge, and yes, I’m Bossy and I’m a Smarty Pants. And sometimes I’m even Lippy. That’s good.
I love watching my nieces and granddaughters speak their mind and get things organized. I recall my own daughter, with one hand on her hip, saying to a sales clerk, “Excuse me, do you have a raincoat for a little girl like me?” She needed one for kindergarten. They are Bossy, they are Lippy, and they are Smarty Pants. Yes. They are Leaders.
Who says Bossy is unacceptable for little girls? Let’s pull out the old Shirley Temple movies. A Bossy, Lippy, Smarty Pants is cute as all get-out. These attributes took Shirley Temple beyond a cute, tap-dancing child star. We need more little girls like her. We need more grown women like Shirley Temple Black.
Click on the picture below. Pardon My Pups is 18 minutes long. The grandkids love the fiesty Shirley Temple in this story.
Let’s be Lippy, Let’s be Smarty Pants. Let’s be Bossy. Let’s not Ban Bossy, let’s Embrace Bossy.