Bossy women?

Bossy Women

It’s been bothering me…….

I’m forever promoting women and will go out of my way to help girls of all ages reach their full potential.  I think women are absolutely amazing and genuinely believe that if there were more of us in government, on boards and other positions of leadership and decision making, the country would be a much better place to work and live in.

I know Sheryl Sandburg, Facebook CEO (whom I adore btw) has a new campaign, about banning the “bossy” word when it comes to girls.  Sinead O’Connor (whom I don’t adore btw) has joined the campaign by renaming her new album “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” – and she sure is, in the amazing photo-shoot that was released recently.

Sheryl Sandberg - Bossy womenSheryl Sandburg’s belief is that by calling girls bossy in the playground you can hinder their growth as future leaders – as being assertive can be seen as a negative trait for girls to have.

But you know what, based on my own experience as a woman in business, in this instance I’m not sure I agree with Sheryl or Sinead!

I do think there is a breed of women in business that feel they have to be aggressive or bossy to get ahead.

I feel some act this way because they have an over inflated opinion of themselves; paradoxically others behave this way because deep down they are insecure about their own abilities – or perhaps they just act this way because they know they can get away with it.  Basically most feel they have to over compensate for being female by acting this way.

This is based on my own experiences which go back to the 1970’s when I worked as a very small kid in my parents’ restaurant back in Kerry.

I know even my colleagues when they come out of a meeting with a particularly tricky client/prospect, who is being difficult for no particular reason – nine times out of ten the tricky person will have been a woman.

In general guys are far less complicated, with far fewer agendas.  That’s my opinion!!

In the past year I have experienced some really unreasonable, aggressive and yes bossy women who want to push their perceived superiority onto other women – and I often find – this type of woman will bully other women but not men!!

In the company of men, eye lashes are fluttered; they take men’s opinions more seriously and treat men with more respect.

In fact these women are some of the most sexist people I have come across and do nothing to really encourage other women in business, at a time when we should as women in business be supporting and encouraging each other.

Some women have incomprehensible agendas going on – where they don’t want other women to get ahead, even resenting their ability and/or success!!!

On a real positive note, I know thankfully these women are in the minority.

Mad Women - Jane MaasSome of the most positive experiences I have had in my long working life have been around my engagement with amazing women in business, like the team I work with now in Fuzion – great and caring professionals who would bust a gut for their clients and their colleagues; my very best buddy, Ciara, who I met through work and is as close to me as a sister and so many really great friends that I have made through work.

My greatest business heroes are women – the trailblazing original “Mad WomanJane Maas and another New Yorker, Rose of Tralee founder – Margaret Dwyer.

I am also part of an amazing organisation called Network Ireland, for women in business and through this organisation I see first-hand women supporting each other, inspiring each other – even starting businesses together.

So what will we do with these bossy/aggressive women?

It’s not enough to ban the word – as it isn’t banning the women themselves!!!

First of all try not to take it personally – which is hard not to do when you are in the middle of a situation!

Kill them with professionalism; ever so nicely challenge them on their behaviour and finally try to have the least amount of engagement with them as possible.

If that fails – think Karma!

If you do bad onto others – it will probably come back and bite you in the ass in the future and when you least expect it!!

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin


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