First, I would like to thank one of the community members reading this blog for the inspiration behind this message. This community member and I had a chat this week to discuss upcoming training initiatives for their team, but we also took a moment to have a great conversation about a leadership strategy they had used recently.
The strategy they shared was simply about bringing humanity into the work place and the profound impact it had on their team. It was also about them continuing to challenge themselves as a leader and recognizing the way we interact with those we lead can have a major impact on morale and productivity.
The conversation we shared sparked some thoughts around the age old concept of boss vs. leader. Thus, I thought why not brainstorm some of the differences.
Difference #1: Bosses say what needs to improve, but leaders inspire it.
It’s the boss’s job to get people to improve. However, a leader makes people want to improve. Leaders build strong connections and get people eager to tackle new strategies and solve problems. They get their teams on the same page and excited about positive change.
That translates to incredible teams who work well together and are willing to go above and beyond in their projects.
Difference #2: Bosses are in a different league, but leaders are approachable.
Look, it can be tough being a boss. People can be afraid of their boss or don’t feel they can trust them. On the other hand, leaders are generally liked by everyone on their team. Instead of using scare tactics, leaders choose kindness, encouragement, and to lead by example. This motivates people to strive harder and makes them comfortable thinking outside of the box.
It also means they’re willing to seek out help and talk through their ideas, which is vital for a healthy and productive workplace.
Difference #3: A boss tells people what to do, but a leader opens communication.
Bosses say, “We need to accomplish this, this, and this by this day.” Leaders explain why new initiatives matter, connect to their audience, and open communication so that everyone can get on the same page.
Difference #4: A boss wants to look good, but a leader cares about the work they do.
Bosses are preoccupied with data and finding ways to prove themselves. Leaders care deeply about the company’s mission, values, and culture. They find ways to improve their company culture so that everyone is committed to doing their best work.
Which are you?
Now that you’ve read four key differences between bosses and leaders… which would you rather be? I’m hoping you said you’d like to be a leader! So let’s look at a few ways to elevate your role.
Spend time getting to know each person on your team.
There’s nothing more frustrating for an employee than not knowing how they’re doing. However, many employees are hesitant to reach out to their supervisor, especially in the first few months at a new job.
Make it easy for your team to talk to you by initiating conversations weekly. When you spend time talking to people about their lives, the small problems they’re having, and their little wins, you open the door for conversations about goal setting and how to go after bigger projects.
Embrace different strengths and believe in your team.
Be okay with your team functioning at different levels. They won’t all be able to excel at everything, however, they all excel in different areas - learn to Delegate Effectively (link to workshop) based on individuals abilities.
A great leader sees individual potential and develops a plan to help their team grow based on the different strengths each person brings.
Don’t try to micromanage everything your team does. Give them room to figure things out on their own, and let them know they can come to you when they need assistance.
Celebrate And Motivate
If you were responsible for winning a $15,000 grant for your agency or a major sponsor for an event, how would you feel if you opened emails praising your boss for all YOUR hard work? A leader isn’t concerned with gaining points from their team member’s successes. Instead, they celebrate their team’s accomplishments. Leaders acknowledge people’s hard work and show appreciation for their time, commitment, and knowledge. The role of a leader is to lead, not to take credit for the work their team produces.
By celebrating your team’s accomplishments, you encourage each member to continue doing their best work. Who doesn’t like recognition when it’s due?
Try some of these ideas to transition from a boss to a leader. And if you want to jump into workshop on topics related to Delegating, Leading Through Change, and/or Direction | Alignment | Commitment, to develop yourself as a leader, check out some upcoming workshops HERE!