If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. A few probably stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unpleasant work environment. It’s just as likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.
There’s a vast difference between a leader and a boss. A leader collaborates, influences, guides, mentors and supports others to foster a movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss controls, dominates and uses fear and intimidation to get more and more out of the individuals he or she oversees.
Leaders create goodwill and enthusiasm, which in turn nurtures an environment where teammates want to give as much as possible. Leaders understand they don’t exert control over others and endeavor instead to help 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. Bosses believe they remain in control when their people are intimidated and afraid.
Leaders recognize that when a person receives quality instruction, understanding and efficiency follow. Leaders also know sharing their time and knowledge helps their people become more competent and, therefore, confident. 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 give credit where it’s due and accept responsibility as part of the team. They work with their people for solutions and inspire others through their examples of accountability and teamwork. Bosses love to take all the credit for things that go well and accept none of the accountability for things that don’t. They believe that to maintain authority and control, they can never be at fault.
Leaders rely on the intelligence of their team members, understanding no one person knows it all. They seek out and welcome the ideas of teammates, knowing this will only contribute to the overall success. Bosses believe they know it all and are the only ones with correct answers. They don’t welcome the knowledge of their people, which leaves employees uninspired and disheartened.
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 are self-centered and power hungry. They believe they’re special and stand above everyone else. Because there’s no team concept, they play the blame game.
Leaders view their team members as human beings with hopes, dreams and desires. Leaders coach their people to help them achieve goals and become their best. Bosses see people as objects in their pursuit of success, riches and power. They drive their people and use them up along the way.
Leaders willingly empower their team members and the entire company, leading everyone to increased happiness and success. Bosses disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and the company less of what it could be.
Through their commitment to communication and mentoring, leaders foster the best in others. They treat the people they lead like valuable human beings capable of accomplishing great things. Through their lack of appreciation and dictatorial management style, bosses lay the foundation for disloyalty, distrust, resentment, high turnover and absenteeism, lowered productivity and efficiency and underperformance of the business.
The biggest difference between these two management styles is that a leader works to empower team members and inspire them to personal and professional greatness, while a boss disempowers their people to exert control.
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.
Are you a leader or boss? If you recognize within yourself the need for leadership development, take the powerful step of working with a qualified professional to become a respected leader on your team.