Be a Leader, Not Just a Boss

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?
  • Do you encourage and develop your team?
  • Do you use criticism and protect your own interests?

The world is full of bosses, but there are not enough leaders, so if you want to start standing out among your colleagues and peers, here are a few leadership tips to consider:

1. 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 the people showing the way. A leader is integrally involved, but a boss just makes a request and walks away.

2. Leaders are driven by a purpose.

The people following the leader must be inspired and empowered and therefore committed to the overall goal or mission. Helping the team to understand the mission is very different than providing a to-do list.

3. Leaders delegate accordingly.

Some bosses micromanage and others don’t give enough direction. However a leader trusts the people and is not afraid to relinquish any control.

A leader is strategic in being surrounded by the right people that complement where there are weaknesses or gaps.

4. Leaders value respect.

A boss may deliver a more top-down, authoritative approach, but a true leader is willing to use enthusiasm, skill, and expertise to encourage others.

5. A leader develops new leaders.

A true leader is constantly creating employees with the knowledge and experience to fill the leadership pipeline.

A boss can sometimes feel intimidated or afraid of the professional competition. The fear of being replaced or losing valuable employees may impact a boss’s commitment and efforts in helping employees to success.

6. Leaders know how to motivate.

True leaders will recognize that no two employees are the same. Their goal is to inspire and motivate employees to contribute more in current company and they use positive techniques and innovative engagement strategies.

A boss can be so task-focused that any changes from the status quo is seen as defiance or sabotaging the work.

Flip responses like, “It is what it is. You can always look for another job if you don’t like it.” can often be the result.

7. Leaders take responsibility.

When the team fails or big mistakes happen, the leader is still out in front taking the brunt of the criticism.

A boss goes into investigation to identify the root of the problem and inadvertently, the blame game can happen among employees.

When you look over your career and reflect on your management style, are you more of a leader or a boss?