For someone who doesn’t like the word “Bossy,”
Sheryl Sandberg sure likes to tell us what to do.
“Lean in,” “You can’t have balance,”
“Get someone else to do your laundry for you.”

I’m not saying bossy’s a good word.
It can be used to paint girls as shrill.
But it isn’t the same thing as leadership.
It tries to make others bend to your will.

If we want to encourage leadership,
In girls, boys, or genders between.
We’ve got to take seriously mentorship,
Fostering balance, and pursuing your dream.

Sheryl Sandberg Facebook CEO

World Economic Forum/Flickr

Everyone needs some flex-time.
All could do well in the work that they choose.
If a sense of solidarity is forged
And I walk a mile in your shoes.

So use “Bossy” when somebody bosses you,
When she says: “Get your butt in the office, you!”
But to help youth to lead, to be strong and inspiring,
It’s best not equate balance with firing.

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Karen Dolan

Among other things, Karen Dolan is the Institute for Policy Studies’ deadline poet. IPS-dc.org

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