How to Be Bossy

BossypantsOne of the most insightful business books today comes from the unlikeliest of sources: Tiny Fey. Her book, Bossypants, narrates and navigates the challenges of being a boss and being a woman.

In Bossypants, Ms. Fey strings together anecdotes that span the gamut from early auto-biographical moments to a key negotiation for her television show 30Rock. Throughout, she dispenses advice that is both practical and funny. The best part of the book for entrepreneurs is a two page box insert entitled, "The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat."

While her rules won't actually help you reduce belly fat, they will help you see that being the boss is pretty much the same whatever the venue. Whether it's a theater or a technology start-up all bosses want engaged participants. Improvisational theater offers incredibly relevant guidelines for how to get a team working together. Her improv rules:

1. Always Agree and SAY Yes
2. YES, AND
3. MAKE STATEMENTS
4. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES

All translate to best corporate practices:

1. Enter with an open mind
2. Bring something to the table
3. Present solutions, not just problems
4. Mistakes are opportunities

Her counsel is sound, and Ms. Fey's nimble demonstration of how to be a good boss without taking gender completely off the table is impressive and instructional. She does this by acknowledging gender gaps but showing they're surmountable. Case in point:

"This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. 'You're up for a promotion. If they go with a woman, it'll be between you and Barbara.' Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone."

Being a boss and a woman both take balance. A balance that requires finesse and frankly, a little humor.

You can Agree with Alicia at www.aliciamorga.com

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1 Comments

  • Loraine Antrim

    Tina Fey as a Leadership Coach? Bring her on!

    What a refreshing change from standard ho-hum executive management advice. As you say, Alicia, her advice is sound, the best being there are no mistakes, aka there are only opportunities to learn from mistakes. I would push back a bit though, on her idea of "make statements" which you've wisely interpreted as provide solutions.

    If we're looking for ideas that can straddle the worlds of improv and leadership, I'd add to Tina's list: ask questions. For both those in improvisational theater/comedy, asking the audience is a great engagement tool and wonderful fodder for material, and from a leadership perspective, it puts you in touch with the pulse of the issues. Loraine Antrim https://twitter.com/#!/loraine...