Are You A Boss Or A Leader? The Answer May Surprise You

Wednesday - 20/01/2021 13:02

Are You A Boss Or A Leader? The Answer May Surprise You

Bosses tell others what matters to them. Leaders connect what matters to the company and their people.

Four fast points from the start:

1. If you’re not sure what the differences are between being a boss and a leader, these words could be worth your reading further.

2. If you’re pretty sure but not completely sure you know the differences here, there’s a high probability you’ll find something worth reflecting on.

3. If you see yourself as a boss and you're proud of it, stop here. No need to read further. You are who you want to be regardless of what your role really needs you to be for success.

4. If you’re convinced you’re a leader, you might be.

Ask your people how they see you — as their boss or their leader. You’ll have nothing to lose by asking. Not a thing. No risk.

If your people see you as a boss, they’ll lie. They won’t tell you the truth. They’ll tell you exactly what they know you want to hear — not what you need to hear. Not what they really want to say.

If you’re a boss, you already know that. So do they. The lies being lived between you and them will continue, each believing what each wants to. Nothing to lose. The loss has already happened — a while ago. You know it. They know it. Everything stays the same. Nothing to gain, right? Wrong.

If those you ask appreciate you as a leader in progress, they’ll feel secure to provide their feedback. They’ll speak. You’ll listen. They’ll feel heard. You’ll gain insights. Everyone benefits. What’s to lose?

Here are some key differences between a boss and a leader.

Everyone knows where you stand on the boss-leader spectrum, except maybe you — but you already know. There’s no elephant hiding here.

Bosses rely on positional power. It’s their only source of influence. Leaders rely on influential power. It’s how they affect transformational change across people, processes and profits.

Bosses want control. They feel successful when they have it. Leaders empower others to grow into having more control.

Bosses fear autonomy. Leaders promote and develop skill levels to bring about needed proficiencies and confidence levels.

Bosses threaten. They create fear-based cultures. Leaders direct and support. They create safe-harbor cultures where meaningful exchanges occur.

Bosses demand their people understand them. Leaders want to understand their people.

Bosses see people as a means to an end. They communicate that to their people by their behavior. Leaders see people as unique individuals, producers and contributors and communicate that to their people.

Bosses model what ego-driven leaders look like. Leaders model what servant leaders look and act like.

Bosses rely on external controls. They force people to do what they don’t want to do. Bosses do that to get what they need and want. Leaders show their people what’s in it for them when they repeatably contribute quality work for themselves, their teams and their company.

Bosses tell others what matters to them. Leaders connect what matters to the company and their people. Leaders connect the dots to what matters most professionally and personally for all concerned.

Bosses rely on their intelligence. Leaders rely on the emotional intelligence of those around them.

Bosses dictate what the purpose of work must be for everyone. Leaders uncover what purpose means uniquely for each of their people.

Leaders help those they work with and work through to understand how the right behaviors, motivation and actions can advance their personal aspirations and professional goals.

Bosses "do" for their people and then turn on them and do to them when people don’t do what they need to for the boss’s self-interest. Leaders "do" collaboratively with people to help them see what is needed for them to express their purpose and exceed their goals.

Bosses limit and restrain. Leaders acknowledge restraints and work cooperatively to free them.

Bosses perpetuate dependency. Leaders cultivate responsible autonomy.

Bosses hold resources back to save and conserve. Leaders focus on making needed resources available to excel and thrive.

Bosses manage people. Leaders manage resources. Leaders understand that people aren't like numbers and cannot be managed; only resources and through-put can be managed.

Bosses model what they can achieve. Leaders model what teams can achieve.

Bosses are data hoarders. They see information as power. Leaders are data suppliers. They see sharing information as power.

Bosses see power as a zero-sum game. They have it. Others don’t. I win. You lose. Leaders see power as collective winning. Leaders are examples of how the more we win, the more we all win.

Bosses are masters. Leaders are servants.

Bosses operate out of scarcity. Leaders operate with an abundance mindset.

Bosses believe the more they have, the less you have. Leaders believe the more you have, the more we all have.

Bosses think the more they gain, the better it is for them. Leaders think the more gain there is, the more gain there is for everyone.

Bosses show their people they don’t matter and all of them are replaceable. Leaders show their people why they matter and how their talents are relevant and unique and can be developed.

Bosses don’t like change. It threatens them. Leaders navigate change. Leading through it elevates everyone.

Bosses tell. Leaders ask. Bosses bark. Leaders discuss. Bosses talk down. Leaders talk about what’s possible.

Bosses are dictatorial and critical. Leaders are aspirational and inspirational.

Bosses blame. Leaders encourage.

Bosses like to make people feel dumb so they can feel smart. Leaders make people feel smart and provide opportunities to show it.

Bosses matter. Their people don’t. Leaders know they no longer matter if their people think their work quality no longer matters.

Bosses promote mediocrity and complain about it. Leaders promote quality and celebrate it.

Bosses keep you guessing where you stand. Leaders show you where you can stand if you want to step up and stand there.

Bosses are uncomfortable with diversity and inclusion. Leaders are uncomfortable without it.

Boss or leader: Which are you? Who are you? What do you stand for? What do your people say?

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