Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Who's The Boss? part 1
In January 2007 I was a 4th grade substitute teacher for 1 term. I had no training in elementary education and no children of my own. The only experience that I had with children that age was that I used to be one - a VERY long time ago. It was a hard job but I loved those kids. After school one day one of the moms complained to me about her daughter. The conversation went roughly like this:
Mom: Little Bonnie (obviously not the child's real name) is bossy.
Me: No, she's really nice.
Mom: No, she's bossy. She bosses everyone around including her older sister and me.
Me: making more protests about how nice little Bonnie is/was
Mom: Being bossy is not a good trait in a 9 year old girl. That's why none of the other kids like her. She's always telling everyone what to do.
Me: But it's a good trait in a 39 year old CEO. She will grow into it.
This seemed to de-stress the moment and relieve a little tension for the mom. Ahhhhhhh! I watched her relax.
But on second thought, is it? Is being bossy ever acceptable? Being bossy is not synonymous with being the boss. And bossy people don't make good bosses.
There's a chain of command in every household/institution/group. Humans naturally play a type of follow the leader. It's in everyone's best interest to have 1 chief while the rest of us get on with the daily grind of doing whatever it is we do. This is the way of the world. Natural leaders are those special people that have traits that bond the clan and build excellence within the group. Traits such as integrity, compassion, intelligence, fairness, and being generally inspiring go a long way in building group cohesion. This is the color of leadership. It's not some bossy, self-appointed know-it-all who barrels in and pushes everybody around and looks down her nose at us all while passing out orders and telling the world what to do and how to do it.
No, I guess bossy doesn't work at 39 any better than it does at 9. . .