Most likely you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers in your life. Certainly, some clearly stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others seemed to suck all the pleasure out of the experience. It’s also likely there’s no doubt about the type of person you would rather work for — and why.
There’s a vast difference between being a boss and being a leader. By definition, a boss is someone who’s a master over others, who’s often controlling, domineering and authoritative, using fear to get ever more out of the individuals he or she manages. Conversely, a leader influences, collaborates, guides and supports to foster movement in a desired direction. The largest difference between these two management styles is that a boss disempowers people, while a leader works to empower team members and inspire them to greatness.
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, their control is guaranteed. Leaders create goodwill and enthusiasm, fostering an environment where their teammates want to give as much as possible by their own choice. Leaders understand they don’t have control over others and endeavor instead to help their people gain more self-control and make better decisions.
Bosses are self-centered and power hungry. They believe they’re special, stand above everyone else and, because there’s no team concept, play the blame game. Leaders, on the other hand, are service-focused and see themselves as part of the team. With this mindset, there’s no need for blame, only a collaborative effort in the direction of a shared solution.
Bosses believe they know it all and are the only ones with the correct answers. They don’t allow for the knowledge of their people, which leaves “employees” uninspired and disheartened. Leaders rely on the intelligence of their team members, understanding that no one person knows it all. They seek out and welcome the ideas of their followers, knowing this will only contribute to the team’s overall success.
Bosses like to tell others how to do things rather than get involved and demonstrate the process. They’re more interested in accomplishing a task versus teaching others how and why something should be done. Leaders recognize that when a person receives quality instruction in a hands-on manner, understanding and efficiency are created. Leaders also know that sharing of their time and knowledge helps their people to become more confident and competent.
Bosses love to take all the credit for things that go well and none of the accountability for things that don’t. They believe that to maintain their authority and control, they can never be at fault. 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 drive their people and willingly use them up along the way. They see people as an expendable resource to be depleted in their pursuit of success, riches and power. Leaders coach their people in the pursuit of achieving lofty goals and assist them in becoming more than they once were. Leaders view their team members as a valuable resource to be cultivated, enhanced and developed.
Bosses disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and their company less of what they can be. 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.
Through their lack of appreciation and dictatorial management style, bosses lay the foundation for distrust, resentment, disloyalty, disrespect, high turnover and absenteeism as well as lowered productivity and efficiency and the underperformance of the business. Through their commitment to communication and hands-on management style, leaders foster the opposite as the people they lead are treated like valuable human beings capable of accomplishing great things.
Are you a boss or a leader? If you recognize within yourself the need for leadership development, take the courageous step of working with a qualified professional to help you achieve your goals.
The admired leaders among us believe in and value human beings and work diligently to collaborate with and develop the potential in their people for the betterment of all. Bosses do not.