Do you consider yourself a leader or a boss? This question doesn’t just apply to the workplace, it can also refer to your home and personal relationships.
Do you lead people or just tell them what you want done without any consideration or explanation? Do you encourage and develop your team, or do you use criticism and protect your own interests?
The world is full of bosses. There are far too few leaders.
Since leaders are rather scarce, you can really make a name for yourself by becoming a good leader. You’ll enjoy more career opportunities and have far fewer challenges with your employees.
Being a leader is helpful at home, too. Your kids and partner would rather deal with a leader than a boss.
Take advantage of these ideas and become a more effective leader:
Lead by example. A boss likes to sit on the sidelines and allow others to do the hard work. A leader is out in front of their people showing the way. A leader is involved. A boss just makes a request and walks away.
Leaders are driven by a purpose. There is an overall goal or mission. The people following the leader must be inspired and empowered. The people must understand the mission. This is very different than providing a to-do list without any context.
Leaders delegate. Bosses micromanage. A leader trusts their people, but a boss struggles to relinquish any control. A leader has surrounded themself with people that complement their weaknesses. A boss hires people that don’t make them feel threatened.
A boss always has a weaker team. The team can’t accomplish as much because they’re not empowered. The team is also weaker because the boss doesn’t want strong employees that might shine brighter than they do.
Leaders value respect. A boss wants to be feared. On the surface, they might appear to be similar, but the differences are striking. A leader is willing to use their enthusiasm, skill, and expertise to encourage others to respect and follow them. A boss uses fear and threats to gain compliance.
Leaders have the best wishes of their followers. Those that follow a boss secretly want them to fail.
A leader develops new leaders. A true leader is constantly creating employees with the knowledge and experience to take their place. A boss is afraid of the competition. A boss is afraid they'll be replaced and is too self-centered to be concerned about the career aspirations of their employees.
Leaders know how to motivate. They know that no two employees are the same. They know their employees well enough to know how to inspire them. A boss simply says, “It is what it is. This is what needs to be done. You can always look for another job if you don’t like it.”
Leaders use positive techniques for motivation, while bosses tend to criticize.
Leaders take responsibility. When the team fails, the leader is still out in front taking the brunt of the criticism. A boss is trying to absolve themself of as much responsibility as possible. A boss is quick to blame their employees. A leader is quick to blame themself.
Think back over your work history. You’ve had plenty of bosses and hopefully at least a couple of leaders. It kind of sucks to work for someone that fits into the boss category. You feel like you’re operating in the dark with little support and few development opportunities.
It’s much more fun to work for a leader. Develop your leadership skills. You’ll be helping yourself, your employees, and your family.