Euphemisms have been around for ages. They can be used in a polite fashion to avoid upset or appearing crude. For example, if someone says, "he's gone to a better place," that's a kinder, gentler way of saying, "he's dead." In a more recent phenomenon, however, euphemisms are used to disguise a more nefarious and negative meaning while leaving the speaker blameless. For instance, if a male employee says, "she's real bossy," he's essentially demeaning her leadership capabilities. Now, more than ever, it's important to explain the signs your daughter is a leader, not bossy.
The real, underlying problem behind using this euphemism to describe women lies in the fact that men are rarely, if ever, called bossy. I may be biased, but to me, it appears that this is just another example of the patriarchy feeling threatened by the possibility of having women on an equal level. So when a woman is called "bossy," "power-hungry," or "pushy," that's an opportunity for her to rise above the petty digs.
So show your daughter that being ambitious, tough, and qualified is not anything of which to be ashamed. Show her how being a leader is not the same as being bossy. Check out these signs that explain the difference so your daughter will feel empowered and ready to be the boss, not bossy.
1. She Exhibits Adult Behavior
Not swearing and stuff. Dr. Caroline Hunt, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Sydney, told Kid's Spot that children who are leaders, not bossy, "exhibit behavior normally associated with adults."
2. She's A Good Friend
What makes a good friend? For starters, you'd want someone who can be both your comfort and your strength. Similar qualities also make for a good leader. Sally McCormack, a clinical psychologist, told Essential Kids that children who are, "inspiring leaders are good listeners, encourage and inspire others, and consultative."
3. She's At Ease In Social Settings
Though a leader doesn't have to be "on" all the time, it certainly helps if they're personable. A main difference between being bossy and being a leader is the ability to socialize in a positive way. Dr. Ritch Savin-Williams, a professor of clinical and developmental psychology at Cornell University, told Parenting that examples of female leaders are, "girls who are naturally outgoing but also possess crucial social skills, such as the ability to come up with fun ideas, capture other children's attention, and organize their peers into activities."
4. She's Adventurous
Plenty of kids are daredevils when they are young, but what makes them a leader and not just reckless? They process and adapt when they face the outcome of their risk-taking. According to Inc., a sign your daughter is a leader, not bossy, is that she, "has a flair for taking risks, but you can also see elements of them learning to weigh the pros and cons, that's a sign of an entrepreneur."
5. She's Not A Sore Loser
For some reason, people think that you can't be a leader and lose, but that's not always the case. It's how your daughter handles failure that shows if she's bossy or a leader. Business consultant John Rampton told Entrepreneur, young leaders, "learn to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success"
6. You Don't Have To Hover
My mom used to use the term "self-starter" to describe me and my sister because she rarely had to remind us to finish projects or do chores. According to Duke University's Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), a girl being an independent thinker is a sign of leadership.
7. She's Opinionated
To call a girl "opinionated" is almost like calling her "bossy" in the sense that there could be negative connotations. However, Linda Powers Leviton, director of the Gifted Development Center in Granada Hills, California, told Baby Center that being opinionated is a sign of a young leader. "She has strong opinions," Leviton said. "She likes to call the shots." This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, because Leviton went on to note the positive aspects of being opinionated. "A take-charge child can inspire others, see conflicts from different perspectives, and bring out the best in a team."
8. She Likes To Experiment
Another difference between leadership and bossiness is that there's good intention behind a leader's seemingly chaotic behavior. According to Business, "if you see that your child’s schedule looks like a hodgepodge mess with no real core, that’s a good thing." Why is being all over the place a positive sign of leadership? As Business noted, this implies your little leader wants "to learn about diverse things and not just rely on their strengths."
9. She Is Cautious When Necessary
Some people assume that leaders are just Energizer bunnies in perpetual motion. In reality, doing busy work and making a fuss about is more akin to being bossy than a leader. An article in TIME recently compared bossy leaders to quiet leaders where it's noted that understanding when to take action is a sign of leadership not bossiness. "[Leaders] know that thinking, understanding, contemplation, and interpretation are equally important as action."