03/17/2014 03:17 pm ET Updated May 17, 2014

Banning Bossy Is Bossy

Cross-posted with permission from OtherWords

Bossy is Bossy, Leadership Is Something Else

Why Sheryl Sandberg gets it wrong... again.

For someone who doesn't like the word "Bossy,"
She sure likes to tell others what to do:
"Lean in," "You can't have balance,"
"Get someone else to do your laundry for you."

I'm not saying bossy's a good word.
It can be used to paint girls as shrill.
But it isn't the same thing as leadership.
It tries to make others bend to your will.

If we want to encourage leadership,
In girls, boys or genders between
We've got to take seriously mentorship,
Fostering balance and pursuing your dream.

Everyone needs some flex-time.
All could do well in the work that they choose,
If a sense of solidarity is forged,
And I walk a mile in your shoes.

So use "Bossy" when somebody bosses you,
When she says: "Get your butt in the office, you!"
But to help youth to lead, to be strong and inspiring,
Best not equate balance with firing.