The Boss, Not Bossy

Alright ladies, how many of you have been called bossy? Guys? I can bet the number of women who answered “yes” greatly outweighs the number of men. Why is it that when a little boy takes charge he is called a “leader”, but when a little girl does the same she is branded as “bossy”? We spend a lot of time talking about empowering women and advocating for girls; however, there are still places in our society where practice has not caught up to the trend. For example, in boardrooms or government offices. The women that are...well let’s just face it, they aren’t always as well liked as their male counterparts. The “bossy girl’s” accomplishments aren’t necessarily celebrated. Women are held back by outside forces BUT women also hold themselves back. 

In her TEDx talk “Why we have too few women leaders”, Sheryl Sandberg tells us that we lucky, because we don't live in the same world our mothers and grandmothers did, yet we still have a problem: “Women are not making it the top of any profession anywhere in the world.” Yes, we have female heads of state and CEOs. That isn’t the point. The numbers are. Of 197 heads of state, only 22 are women. Of all the people in parliament across the world, only 20% are women. Only 18 of Fortune 500 companies have women as CEOs. So what is the issue? Well one of the factors Sandberg points out is that data shows women systematically underestimate their own abilities. After this TEDx talk, Sandberg wrote a book and started the Lean In movement with intention of empowering women to achieve their ambitions.  

Lean In for Graduates is tailored towards our generation; the next generation of women leaders. This book touches on topics related to first jobs, resumes, interviews, negotiating, and self-discovery as well as leaning in for millenial men.

Here are 10 Tips for Millennial and Gen Z Women:

  • Proceed and Be Bold - Shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking  “I want to do that—and I’ll learn by doing it.”

  • Adopt a “What Can I Offer?” Mindset - Take every chance you get to make a good impression.

  • Negotiate - You won’t get what you don’t ask for, so make it a rule to negotiate. But before you do, understand how stereotypes impact negotiations.

  • Breakdown Long-term Goals - Goals can feel daunting, so start by breaking them down into concrete steps you can take. Stay flexible!

  • Sit at the Table - When you push past your insecurities and go for it, you gain more confidence, which leads to more opportunities.

  • Listen to Yourself - As you shift from college to the workplace, your inner voice can serve as a powerful guide.

  • Don’t Ask “Will You Be My Mentor?” - Studies show that mentors select protégés based on their performance and potential. So shift your thinking from “If I get a mentor, I’ll excel” to “If I excel, I’ll get a mentor.”

  • Understand and Challenge Gender Bias - Women walk a tightrope between being seen as competent and being well liked. Small adjustments can make a big difference, so speak up and advocate for yourself and others.

  • Make your Partner a Real Partner - Date whomever you like, but when it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner, which includes doing half the work at home.

  • Don’t Leave Before you Leave - Keep as many options open until the moment you need to make a choice. Instead of slowing down for fear of what’s ahead, keep your foot on the gas pedal until you have to make a decision.