Which are you: a leader or a boss?
How do you show up as a manager? Do you involve or tell your direct reports what to do without any consideration or explanation? Do you encourage and develop your team, or blame them for what might have gone wrong? Do you gain or demand respect from your direct reports?
Here is the definition of leader and boss.
Definition of Leader: a person that leads
Definition of Boss: a person who exercises control or authority
I think you probably already knew the difference between a leader and a boss without the definitions. We have all worked for both types. Boss style is a top-down model and leader style is a collaborative leadership model, which allows you to really engage your direct reports that empowers, motivates, and respects them. Be the leader not the boss.
8 Ways to become a more effective leader:
- Lead by example. A boss just makes a request and walks away. A leader rolls up their sleeves and is in the trenches working alongside the team. A leader is involved and walking the talk.
- Leaders are driven by purpose. A boss provides a to-do list without much context to why the employee is doing it. Leaders know there is an overall goal and mission. The people following the leader are inspired, empowered, and believe in the mission that the leader is sharing and believes in themselves.
- Leaders delegate. A boss micromanages and doesn’t hire people that might make them feel threatened. A leader trusts their people. With appropriate guidance, they are giving the responsibility and to some extent authority to the direct report to complete the task as they think best. When a leader is willing to delegate, they promote a culture of confidence, trust, and respect.
- Leaders value respect. A boss uses fear and threats to gain compliance. A leader is willing to earn the respect of their direct reports. Leaders believe in their people and supports them in achieving their best selves. Through collaborating, empowering, and listening, the leader is much more likely to earn their respect.
- A leader develops new leaders. A boss is afraid of the competition. They are afraid they will be replaced and is too self-centered to be concerned about the career aspirations of their employees. A true leader is constantly developing employees with the knowledge and experience to take their place. They know how important it is to invest in their direct report’s careers for long term success for everyone involved.
- Leaders know how to inspire. A boss simply says, “It is what it is. This is what needs to be done.” Leaders know that no two employees are the same. They know their employees well enough to know how to inspire them which motivates them to do their best. They understand the importance of getting their direct report’s input in the decision-making process and showing the employee they value their skills, knowledge, and expertise.
- Leaders take responsibility. When the team fails, a boss is quick to blame their employees. A leader takes responsibility. They work together to figure out what happened, learn from the mistake, and then fix it. This style doesn’t single anyone out and truly everyone on the team, including the leader, is a part of fixing the issue and moving forward.
- Leaders maintain balance. A boss stays in authority mode 24/7. Effective leaders assume a strong role directing the team, assigning clear decision rights and responsibilities, while maintaining that balance between guidance and authority. They know when to allow the team to do their job, halt unproductive discussions, cut off politicking, and when to make the final call, to avoid the possibility of chaos when it seems no one will make the decision.
Take an objective look at how you are showing up as a manager. Get feedback from your employees and colleagues to help you define any blind spots to help you become an even more effective leader. Most importantly, trust your people to do their part in supporting you and the mission. You will benefit from loyal employees because they know you have their back, support, and respect.
If you would like help becoming the leader you have always wanted to be or just improve your leadership style, please reach out.