Are you a Boss or a Leader? Take the Quiz!
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When you reflect on your career, you’ve likely had bosses you’ve loved and others you haven’t liked very much at all. You may have even left a job due to the negative relationship with your manager. Think back on each situation – what was it about the person that made them so great? Or made them so unbearable?
While the terms “boss” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, there are some significant differences between the two. There is a good chance that the boss you loved was truly a leader.
Bosses have a significant impact on their employees' lives. Consider these statistics:
Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement.1
A Qualtrics survey reports that 67% of workers surveyed said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a company that offered good mentorship opportunities.2
Research from Gallup found that 50% of employees leave their companies because of their boss.3
Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, is fascinated by leadership, and those leaders and companies that inspire their employees, customers and the world. In his daily Notes to Inspire email, Sinek often demonstrates the differences between bosses and leaders. Here are just a few examples:
“Management is the practice of manipulating people for personal gain. Leadership is the responsibility of inspiring people for the good of the group.”
“Leaders don’t look for recognition from others. Leaders look for others to recognize.”
“A boss tells people what they can do to achieve a goal. A leader asks people what they can do to advance a vision.”
Here are five characteristics that distinguish a leader from a boss.
1. Earns respect
We have all been taught to respect people in positions of authority. But just because a supervisor or manager has been given authority over other employees does not necessarily mean they deserve respect. Bosses who are unkind, take credit for people’s ideas, or blame others when things go wrong will soon lose the respect of those who report to them. Leaders gain the respect of their employees through their beliefs and actions, which includes treating people equally and fairly.
2. Views employees as team members
A boss sees direct reports as resources to get the job done and make them look good. Leaders view their employees as team members, everyone working together toward a common goal. They give recognition when it is due and support others when there are problems. When people are treated well they are more likely to give their best to the team which can positively impact results – and make everyone look good.
3. Encourages employees to grow
A boss often feels threatened by smart direct reports, worrying that the person will eventually take his or her job. A leader knows that surrounding him/herself with the best and brightest is good for the entire team. Leaders will encourage others to speak up and share their ideas in a collaborative environment. They urge employees to grow by taking calculated risks and push out of their comfort zones, providing support when necessary.
4. Takes responsibility for the team
According to Sinek it is an honor to lead and to take care of the people in their charge. Leaders will take responsibility for their team, having everyone’s back when there is an issue. If corrective action needs to be taken, they will offer this advice in private, never embarrassing or demeaning people and helping them learn a lesson from the mistake. In the end, the team members will be motivated to work that much harder and the team will be stronger.
5. Inspires and motivates
A boss is busy working on his or her own career. Leaders inspire and motivate employees with the goal of creating new leaders. They understand that the best reward they could receive is for a person they’ve mentored and nurtured to move on to greater things and take pride in their people. The ultimate goal of a leader is to create new leaders.
If you supervise or manage people, do you consider yourself a leader? Take the questionnaire Boss or Leader? These short questions highlight some of the main characteristics of strong leaders.
If you find you’re a boss and want to improve your skills through leadership development, check out the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders®. Watch the video to learn more.
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