Don’t Be a Boss - Be a Leader

Successful businesses are led by leaders, not by bosses

01/09/2017

Don’t Be a Boss — Be a Leader

As a business owner or manager, you most likely have a range of staff reporting to you. In that role, you have a couple of options for how you can serve your employees: you can choose to be a boss or a leader. While some may think that the two concepts are indistinguishable, there is a world of difference between them that can determine whether your business is efficient and functional.
 

The importance of being a leader

According to a July 2016 article on Inc.com by contributor Jim Morris,  your relationship with your employees as a business owner or manager has two contracts to guide it. There is the written job description with responsibilities, and there is an unspoken contract based on mutual trust and respect. A good leader takes this to heart and does not overlook the latter in how he or she approaches his or her employees.
 
“If you act like a leader, your team members will produce long-lasting, effective results, and their performance will be consistently outstanding. They will be more engaged at work, and more fulfilled in their personal lives too,” reports author and leadership expert Gina Folk in a May 2015 article in Entrepreneur.
 
As such, true leaders not only treat their employees as unique individuals, but “they work to help the employee grow into their strengths and natural talents, even if that means eventually losing the employee because he or she is promoted or decides to leave the company altogether,” says Morris.
 
With a provided foundation for trust, your employees are likely to respect your business and be honest with you, even if they are uncomfortable about a topic. This positive reinforcement helps make an efficient workplace.
 
Folk shares seven tips on how to become a leader and stop being a boss:
 
  1. Treat people like people - A leader enjoys working with people and treats them like the respected individuals they are. As a leader, you must understand that your employees are people with personalities and talents, not minions that merely do your bidding.
  2. Guide your employees - Instead of micromanaging their every move, teach your team how to effectively take care of tasks and then let them get to work. Teams are often more productive when they receive support and guidance from their leader as opposed to being controlled at every turn.
  3. Have a flexible approach - Rather than stay rigid in your practices, be adaptable to each team member’s style and embrace his or her individual approach to accomplishing tasks. Establish clear expectations for the task and its completion, and let the team accomplish it in their own way.
  4. Truly delegate tasks - Even if you assign employees tasks, you are not truly delegating if you try to control how they accomplish their responsibilities. You can still follow up with each employee on progress, but avoid micromanaging, which can leave employees feeling depowered and unmotivated.
  5. Keep your ego in check - It’s easy to take credit for the team’s success when things go well or to throw employees under the bus when something goes wrong. A leader, however, accepts failure as a personal responsibility and makes sure to celebrate the team’s efforts, not just his or her own.
  6. Encourage your team to do things differently - Rather than play it safe and avoid taking risks, empower your team to try new things (with your approval), even if it could potentially result in failure. A leader knows successes can come from risk and that mistakes are a great learning opportunity.
  7. Be your team’s biggest fan - Motivation and encouragement are powerful tools for a successful team, so make sure to cheer on all their successes — both big and small — and watch as they continually rise to your expectations of greatness.
 
“Someone who’s ‘just a boss’ only cares that the work gets done and has no interest in what it took to get there, the struggles that went on, or any tools that would’ve made it easier. Whereas, the best managers care about the role and the person who’s doing it—and it’s their attention to each person that shows their commitment to being a leader. They don’t just want results, they want to help facilitate the process,” says Morris.
 
Eventually, all of your employees will leave, be it for a new or opportunity, a promotion or retirement. The difference between bosses and leaders is that leaders will recognize this as a natural part of business growth and help their employees grow as much as their own businesses. And when an individual succeeds and advances, they are likely to credit leaders with helping them find their success where a boss may have otherwise hampered their growth.

Published by North Shore Bank. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers. 

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