Are You Unfairly Labeled Bossy?

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“I think putting labels on people is just an easy way of marketing something you don’t understand.”  Adam Jones

Speaking of marketing, check out Pantene’s  commercial about labels on men and women. Pantene brings to life the quote of Mr. Jones by demonstrating how quickly we label women unfairly.  We are guilty of unfairly labeling women in leadership roles because we are ignorant of the complexity of their work, emotions, and vulnerability.   Have you ever been mislabeled bossy, when only being a stern boss?  I have for sure!

The best thing I have learned over the years is to be honest with yourself about your personality quirks and other peoples’ perceptions/labels of you, even if you feel they are incorrect. Recognize how others label you and more importantly be able to communicate how you would like to be described.  If you can label yourself properly, it will often help others understand you better.  For example, in brainstorming sessions I remind stakeholders in the room, “Hey I am in sales – sometimes I don’t know how to have a conversation without selling my ideas or thoughts.  It doesn’t mean I am right or that I am absolutely sold on my own idea, I just can’t help but sell you when it comes out of my mouth.”  So the next thing I tell them is, “Don’t let me SELL you on a policy or an idea if you know I am wrong.”  And I mean it.  By stating this up front, I may not appear as pushy or dominant as we contemplate the various ideas.

This video is a reminder to me that some labels are accurate and some just wrong!  So regardless of the label, be aware of the fact that you are being labeled.  Don’t hide from the labels, but rather face them and choose to own them, correct them, or live up to them.

I used to be labeled as bossy, but over the years I have learned to change people’s perception to think of me more as a delegator.   🙂 No really it is true, friends say  I delegate better than anyone they know.  I figured out how to change what I say from: “Mike – go get the rental car for our trip” to something like “Mike, since you are arriving earlier would you mind picking up the rental car for us?”  Ahhhh – all in the delivery ladies, all in the delivery.

So let me encourage you to make note of the labels people have on you.  Decide whether you like those labels or want to change them; decide if they are within your control to change or not.  I didn’t like being bossy, so I worked on my delivery.  I own the fact that I am salesy, so I educate those around me to not let that get us in trouble.

How do you handle the labels?  Please – take the time to tell me about a label that has been placed on you.  Tell me – how did you handle it?  Did you own it, fight it, or work to change it?  I truly want to know!

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