Being a boss doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a leader, nor does being a leader necessarily mean that you are a boss.
While the terms “boss and “leader” can be mutually exclusive, every boss should aim to master the art of leadership in order to progress in their career and make the most out of their team.
As a boss, your main goal is to make sure that your corporate check-list is completed. That means it’s your job to make sure your team members are doing their jobs. There’s a lot more to it than that, though. Your team needs to be motivated in the workplace. It is your duty to make sure that their needs, as well as the company’s, are met. Every employee who reports to you should want to be there and want to do their work in order to complete their tasks as effectively as possible.
What does leadership take?
When people think of a boss, they think of them as a figure in a hierarchy, a pointing finger giving out orders and not a person. When people think of a leader, they think of somebody who inspires, motivates and empowers the people following them. A leader is another human being who has compassion and empathy. Being a leader means bringing that personal touch to the workplace. Ask your team how they are doing, how was their weekend and ask for their opinion. Even if you can’t get their input on a project, see if there are any changes they would like to see in the workplace or in your leadership. They may be able to give some valuable pointers which will improve the overall efficiency of your team as well as improve your relationship with them.
“A leader listens. Providing an environment where an employee feels comfortable approaching you with a problem is a vital aspect to creating a stress-free work place,” says Edna Santana, leadership expert and author at Last Minute Writing and Researchpapersuk. Listening, alone, isn’t enough, though. You will need to provide feedback and, where possible, take action on their thoughts. If an employee feels valued and respected, they are more likely to stay motivated in their role. A boss would simply log their complaint and carry on with their day. Don’t be a robot, be a human just like them.
Teamwork is key
A boss tends to see themselves as above their employees. They refer to themselves as “I” and their employees as “them”. But a leader is only above their employees in the company structure. Leaders are nothing without their followers. Teamwork is vital to having happy employees, an efficient company and a respected leader. Terms such as “we” and “us” are more important than you might think. If it feels like you are part of the team, you’re much more likely to garner the respect you need as a leader than if you position yourself as “you” against “them”. “The team spirit allows for accountability, no one person will feel the blame or praise, encouraging everyone to work together and support each other. It also builds a community with you and your employees which is an essential part of understanding how you, as people, work,” adds Joann Brown, HR Manager and content marketing specialist at Draftbeyond and Writinity.
Guidance, not control
A lot of the time, bosses will feel like they need to be in control of every aspect and, when they feel out of control, they take it out on the people around them. It is a leader’s job to guide their team and help them along their way. This doesn’t mean that you need to hand-hold your employees, but they do require direction and support to be able to do their jobs. It is important, as a leader, to invest time in your employees. Providing them with the time to learn new skills or adapt to company changes will be beneficial to the company as a whole in the long run. Often a boss will use people for their specific job description but never give them the chance to try new things or develop their roles. Instead of focusing on your needs, see how you can help your team to grow.
Delegation and trust
Letting go of control can be difficult but it is important to delegate tasks. This shows a level of trust in your team that will earn their respect. Delegating is one of the key aspects of leadership, it allows your team the chance to prove themselves and grow, plus it takes some of the pressure off you. Both of these make for a more relaxed and better working business. Following on with this, make sure to give praise where it is due. Appreciating your team makes a big difference and you should never take credit for what they have done. Remember, teamwork really does make the dream work!
Overall, most people would rather work with a leader than for a boss. Just because a boss is in charge doesn’t give them the right to walk all over their employees and no one will thank them for it. Being a leader means being a colleague, someone who puts the people first and not results. The results of doing so will speak for themselves.
Charles Phan is a content writer and proofreader at Gum Essays and Lucky Assignments with years of experience. Chris has a degree in Marketing and enjoys writing about business strategies, entrepreneurship and startup companies.