If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers over your lifetime. A few probably stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unpleasant work environment. There’s likely no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d prefer to work.
There’s a vast difference between being a LEADER and being a boss.
LEADERS collaborate, guide, influence, inspire, mentor, and support others to foster movement in a desired direction. Conversely, bosses often control, domineer and use fear and intimidation to get ever more out of the people they oversee.
LEADERS are service-oriented and see themselves as part of a team. With this mindset, there’s no need for blame, only a collaborative effort on a shared mission. Bosses tend to be self-centered and power-hungry. They believe they’re special and stand above everyone else. Because there’s no team concept, they play the blame game.
LEADERS view team members as human beings with their own hopes, dreams, and desires. Leaders coach their people in the pursuit of achieving their goals and help them become more than they were. Bosses see people as objects in their pursuit of success, riches, and power. They drive their people and use them up along the way.
LEADERS foster goodwill and enthusiasm, creating an environment where their teammates want to give as much as possible. Leaders realize they don’t have control over others and endeavor instead to help their people gain more self-control, make better decisions, and become leaders themselves. Bosses rely on authority and fear to make individuals do more and more for as little as possible. Bosses believe that when their people are intimidated and afraid, they’re in control.
LEADERS give credit where it’s due and readily accept responsibility as part of the team. They work with their people for solutions and inspire others through their positive example of personal accountability and teamwork. Bosses love to take all the credit for things that go well and none of the accountability for things that don’t. To maintain their authority and control, they believe they can never be at fault.
LEADERS recognize that when a person receives quality instruction and training, understanding and efficiency are created. Leaders also know that sharing their time and knowledge helps their people become more competent and. therefore, confident. Conversely, bosses like to tell others how to do things rather than get involved and demonstrate the process. They’re more interested in exerting power and control than teaching others how and why something should be done.
LEADERS rely on the intelligence of their team members, understanding no one person knows it all. They seek out and welcome the ideas of others, knowing this contributes to the overall success of the team. Bosses, on the other hand, believe they know it all and they’re the only ones with the answers. They don’t welcome the knowledge of others, which leaves their people uninspired and disheartened.
LEADERS willingly assist in the empowerment of their team members — and, therefore, the entire company — and lead everyone to increased happiness and success. Rather than simply bossing people around, leaders assist others in becoming their best. Bosses tend to disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and their company less of what they could be.
Through their commitment to communication and mentoring, leaders foster the best in others, treating people like valuable human beings capable of accomplishing great things. Through their lack of appreciation and dictatorial management, bosses lay the foundation for more absenteeism, disloyalty, distrust, resentment and turnover and less efficiency, performance, and productivity.
The biggest difference between these two management styles is a leader empowers team members and inspires them to personal and professional greatness, while a boss disempowers people to wield control over them.
Are you a leader or a boss?
If you recognize the need or desire for leadership development, take the powerful step of working with a qualified professional to become a respected leader on your team. The admired leaders among us believe in and value human beings and work diligently to help their team members become leaders in their own right.
Bosses do not.
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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper. Access the article here.