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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: leaders

Day 476: The Thing About Bossy

As a girl who was called bossy more than once growing up, I really appreciate the new #BanBossy campaign. Especially because there are still lots of discrepancies between how boys and girls think about themselves and their capabilities.

But one of the things I learned from Girl Scouts (as an adult… when I worked there) is that leadership takes many, many forms. And not all of them are loud. Something about the Bossy Conversation rubs me slightly the wrong way, because it implies that a girl has to be aggressive and assertive in order to be a leader.

Mind you, I was an aggressive and assertive little kid. I loved (LOVED) rules. I derived great pleasure from flexing my imagination within a set structure, and – um – inviting others to do the same. And I remain that way as an adult. As a producer in an agency full of lots of leaders, thinkers and dreamers, it’s part of my role to try and make the creative stuff happen – within the boundaries of budgets, deadlines, corporate legal departments and competing priorities.

But the quiet girls are leaders too. So are the quiet women. I’ve watched female colleagues gently guide conversations and processes in ways that shout leadership. While my method might be to speak up, wrangle, whiteboard and reality-check, the quiet ones observe, listen and ask questions that ultimately help the group land on the right decision. They’re respected and effective – two telltale marks of good leadership.

I do stand behind the anti-Bossy stuff, as it’s all about helping assertive girls maintain their confidence through the sometimes-painful process of becoming adults. But I’d like to tell those beautiful bossy girls that sometimes it’s okay to not feel responsible for everyone and everything around you. And to the quiet girls who are being called shy instead of bossy – I hope you know that it’s okay to raise your voice above the din when you feel strongly about something.

As for me, I continue to work on relaxing my grip on the rules now and then, and to soften my voice when someone else needs the mic.

So. Here’s to the leaders, no matter how loud they are.

Bossy girl

Me, likely experiencing a post-bossy high.

Day 85: Girl Scout Cookies

As a continuation to the continuation about happy things Midwesterners can think about while they wait for spring, this is the perfect time to post about Girl Scout cookies. In central/southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, it’s currently cookie season (as if you didn’t know). 

I bought cookies yesterday from a lovely young woman in her last year of Girl Scouting. As she stood outside the grocery store in downright bitterly cold weather, she cheerily told me how much she’ll miss the program when she graduates, and that my Thin Mints were lovingly “pre-frozen.” She then explained to the gentleman behind me why cookies cost more this year and what she plans to do with the money she earns (a trip to France with her troop). She was smart, articulate, outgoing and a good saleswoman (“You know, a couple of packages of Trefoils would be very tasty with those Samoas.”).

If you’re wondering whether or not you should support Girl Scouts by buying cookies, the answer is yes. The girls in green sashes and brown vests are doing more than peddling delicious goods; they’re learning how to be leaders.