I’ve never thought of myself as a boss. Sure I see myself as a leader, but I never liked the title “boss”. It could’ve been due to the narrative I heard as a child that “bossy girls” are bad and no one likes them. Another part of it is I believe that leaders are meant to inspire, while bosses simply order you around without concern for your wellbeing. Lately I’ve been loving how women have reclaimed the boss title and now many women are proud to be called a “Girl Boss.” However, being a girl boss means that sometimes you’re going to have to say or do some tough stuff that may rub some people the wrong way. Yesterday was one of those days for me. As the creative producer in my church, I had to give some tough feedback to fellow volunteers. If you ever find yourself having to make hard-hitting decisions regarding employees, co-workers etc. here are 3 tips to help you to be a boss without being a bitch.
1. Revise your language
The way you word a sentence marks a clear distinction between boss and bitch. You want to make a point, not alienate a crowd. Now is the time to be direct without being overly critical. Your tone should be even, not harsh; so that the person knows you’re coming from a good place and not on a Prozac withdrawal.
2. Be constructive, not destructive
Okay, so they messed up. Like really messed up. And maybe you’ve tried to help them in the past but they’re insubordinate and insist on going off script. This is where your language can either help or hurt. Body language plays a role in this too; watch how you hold yourself. That lets the person know what you think about them. Remember you want to inspire them to do better, not kick them while they’re down. If there are any strengths you can point out, include that. Maybe their performance is being affected by personal struggles. Give them some pointers so they’ll know how to improve. If this is the last straw for you and there’s no room for improvement, let them know what it was about their performance that was so disappointing for you and how it has affected the team and the company. Even if you’re terminating this relationship, the constructive criticism will help them in future positions (if they take anything you say to heart).
3. Learn how to trust
I added this point for myself. This is an area I am genuinely struggling in. If I know something needs to be done, I tend to not tell someone else in detail because I assume they won’t do it the way I want it done. I always struggle with letting go of control and trusting that my team really can do the job. The best way to ensure your vision is brought to fruition is to train those around; this will eliminate the need to micro-manage and correct anyone.
Being a Girl Boss is all about being true to yourself. We all have struggles and we all have moments where we cross that fine line into bitchland. The key is to know when to reel it all back in, re-evaluate and always knowing how to accept when you yourself have messed up. Because no matter how important what you have to say is, no one is going to hear you if it comes out wrong.