Sheryl Sandberg's campaign on banning the word "bossy" is sparking up a great conversation amongst women and men. It pushes the envelope for educators, parents and others to be mindful of words used to describe a girl who exhibits leadership skills, ask probing questions, and assertiveness. For too long, this word has held a negative connotation to it. For some, it has planted seeds in the minds of girls and young women that somehow expressing themselves is a bad thing. Girls have to learn that they have strengths, talents and gifts. When these attributes are nurtured they can have a major impact on their community and be groomed as America's Next Top CEO's.
In my book Boss Lady (Seven Life Principles to Reign in the New Economy), I de-emphasize the word "bossy" and embrace the term "Boss Lady." I define boss as a woman who takes responsibility for her actions, recognizes her purpose and work towards living a life that consist of being a servant leader. We can campaign to ban the word bossy but the most important thing we need to do is to teach girls to be a Boss. We have to teach them to walk in their God given talents, skills and abilities. By doing this we are essentially highlighting skills that will make them productive citizens in our society.
Here are three tips to prepare girls to be a boss lady:
1. Help them to develop a Boss Lady Mindset: As a girl thinks, so is she! Start with positive affirmations about who they are. You are smart, you are a leader, you can do anything you set your mind to doing. Some girls have been hurt by people who were supposed to love them. As role models and mentors we have to counteract what they have learned by helping them to change their mind about themselves.
2.Teach them about the power of words: Girls have to learn the power of their mouth. You are who you say you are. They have to learn how to handle themselves when others use negative words towards them. For example: If someone says "you are so bossy" Teach them to say, "I am glad you noticed my leadership skills". The bottom line is sometimes people will use words to get a rise out of you. By teaching girls how to respond positively, it releases the power of a negative word.
3. Help girls to recognize strengths and develop their gifts: When I used to teach middle school in the Bronx, New York, I had several girls that were labeled as "bullies." These young ladies were very outspoken, had all of the friends in school and would get in trouble for standing up for their rights. While I do not condone negative behavior, I was able to take what others wrote off as undesirable and reverse it into a positive experience. For example: One student always wanted to get the last word and was very argumentative. I would tell her to state her case in order to hear her point of view. I would tell her how her peers looked up to her and I needed her to be the great leader I knew she could be. This may seem small, but today this young lady is operating her own business.
To learn more about Boss Lady (Seven Life Principles to Reign in the New Economy) visit www.fatimascipio.com
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