Last week I wrote about the word bossy here as it pertains to women, primarily how it pertains to me. The gist of the post was about how I don’t find the word bossy to be bad. When bossy is used correctly it is necessary. It describes a female leader. A male is described as a boss but the role is still the same. Since I post here and I link it to my Facebook and Twitter pages I was asked about a term I used. I wrote, “I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power, and I am not emotional.” So that brought about a series of questions. What is a usurper? And then isn’t a bossy woman seizing power?
Usurp – verb -1. to seize power by force or without legal right 2. to advance beyond proper established limits or to trespass
First we define bossy – ordering people around, overly authoritative
Notice, bossy isn’t usurping power, it’s using power given, sometimes overly using power, I call this rookie mistakes, but within a legal right. The word boss means a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates. A boss has a legal right. It makes sense though that people would think bossy and usurper would be the same thing, because we don’t understand the context in which power is used, and let’s face it, we don’t like power very much except when we have it. The difference is being bossy doesn’t mean we have the right to rule over someone. It’s not the one who barks orders and is demeaning. That isn’t leadership, that’s what I call the Bull In China Shop kind of person and I’ll discuss that in a later post, this person’s style is emotional.
A person who usurps takes over without right. It’s sad when we see it and it isn’t exclusive to women. I’ve seen men try to take over as many time as I’ve seen women.
In marriage, usurping authority are things like siphoning money from the family budget to buy things we want knowing that our spouse wouldn’t approve. It basks in contradiction, and it brings about disunity. It’s saying you don’t care what the other person wants, it’s going to be your way. It’s threatening and not caring what is best for the whole, but only what we think is best. It can be abusive.
In business usurping authority is seizing power where it isn’t given. It’s playing CEO without the earned right to be CEO. Just because there is a disagreement over a decision doesn’t mean we gossip, set up teams, poke holes in the boat and try to take over. A bossy woman, may in fact, voice her opinion but ultimately she knows where her role and responsibility begins and ends and she will back the vision up.