Boss V Leader
If you are the owner or manager of a business, you can clearly be referred to as “the boss”. But does that make you a leader?
Firstly, “boss” implies you know it all and will make all the decisions. Instead, think of yourself as a leader by taking your team with you. Make sure they understand your reasons and, importantly, that you are willing to take ideas and suggestions on board before you make a final decision.
Secondly, a boss will have a gap between themselves at the top and the team members below, while a leader will be one of the group. View yourself as a team member who has taken on more responsibility: be open, listen to your staff and share your views and plans with them.
Thirdly, a leader is often more constructive than a boss. He or she will look for things to praise and allocate tasks based on individuals’ skills, rather than being critical of weaknesses. Leaders also take responsibility for problems, whereas a boss might try to shift the blame onto employees.
Fourthly, leaders know how to inspire their team members, whereas a boss is more likely to use the stick than the carrot. Employees will be much more loyal, dedicated and productive if they feel they are being recognised and rewarded. Being shouted at, on the other hand, is no way to build a happy workforce.
Finally, and perhaps taking in all the above points, a boss’s focus is completely different to that of a leader. Faced with a problem, a boss will use the word “me”: “how does this affect me? What shall I do?” Instead, a leader will use “we”: “how shall we respond to this? What can we achieve together?”
A simple change of focus like this can make all the difference to your management style and you’ll soon find you’re being called a great leader, rather than just “the boss”.
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