There’s a vast difference between being a leader and a boss. A leader influences, collaborates, guides, mentors and supports others to encourage movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss lords over others, controlling, domineering and relying on fear and intimidation to get ever more out of the individuals he or she oversees.
If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. Undoubtedly, a few clearly stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unsavory work environment. It’s also likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.
The biggest difference between the two management styles is that leaders empower team members and inspire them to personal and professional greatness, while bosses disempower people to maintain control over them.
Leaders recognize that when a person receives quality instruction, understanding and efficiency are created. Leaders also know sharing their time and knowledge helps their people to 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 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 their teammates, knowing this will contribute to overall success. Bosses, on the other hand, believe they know it all and they’re the only ones with the correct answers. They don’t welcome the knowledge of their people, leaving them uninspired and disheartened.
Leaders foster goodwill and enthusiasm, creating an environment where teammates want to give as much as they can. Leaders understand they don’t control others and, therefore, endeavor 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. They believe that when their people are intimidated and afraid, they’re in control.
Leaders are service-oriented and see themselves as part of the team. With this mindset, there’s no need for blame, only a collaborative effort in a shared mission. Bosses tend to be self-centered and power hungry. They believe they’re special, stand above everyone else and, because there is no team concept, play the blame game.
Leaders give credit where it’s due and readily accept accountability 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 view their 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 once were. Bosses see people as objects in their pursuit of success, riches and power. They drive their people and willingly use them up along the way.
Leaders willingly assist in the empowerment of their team members, and therefore the entire company, leading everyone to increased happiness and success. Rather than simply bossing people around, leaders assist others in becoming their best. Bosses disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and their companies less of what they could be.
Through their commitment to communication and mentoring, leaders bring out the best in others as the people they lead are treated like valuable humans capable of accomplishing great things. Through their lack of appreciation and a dictatorial management style, bosses lay the foundation for distrust, resentment, disloyalty, high turnover, absenteeism, lowered productivity and efficiency and underperformance of the business.
The admired leaders among us believe in and value humans beings and work diligently to collaborate with and develop the potential in their people for the betterment of all. Bosses do not.
Are you a leader or boss? If you recognize within yourself the need for leadership development, take the courageous step of working with a qualified professional to become a respected leader on your team.