Are you a leader, or are you merely a boss?
It’s a question I’ve raised before, and an important one to ask as you seek to understand your own role as the head of your team. A boss is good at giving orders and keeping all the pieces moving, perhaps, but real leaders collaborate, inspire, develop—in short, they make their employees better and, as such, get the most out of their team dynamic.
So ask yourself honestly which category best describes you. And, if you worry that maybe you’re just a boss when what you really want is to be a leader, don’t worry. There are some changes you can make to your leadership style today that will point you in the direction you want to go.
- Learn to listen rather than just bark orders. The next time you’re tempted to issue a set of commands, stop yourself. Instead of commanding, call your team together for a discussion. Listen to what they have to say. Ask for advisement in the areas you feel weakest. Work together toward a solution, and then move forward together.
- Find tools for motivating your employees rather than just scaring them. Provide metrics and data to your team members, showing them the impact their work means. Tell them that what they do is meaningful. Involve them in decision-making, and invest in educating and training them. Find whatever tools you can to motivate them rather than threatening or frightening them.
- Step away from micromanagement. Don’t try to control your team members. Just provide them with some basic guidance. Share a goal, and some resources for meeting that goal, and let your team take it from there.
- Make sure your feedback is constructive. If you’re yelling at your team members, or seeking to embarrass or punish them, then you’re not a leader. It’s as simple as that. Leaders provide constructive feedback that’s meant to address problems, improve performance, empower people, and ultimately yield better results.
- Delegate something. To be a leader, you have to trust your team members to tackle projects on their own. Take something that’s on your plate and give it to an employee. That’s the first step toward meaningful delegation.
- Be generous in your praise. Give credit where credit is due, and make sure your employees know that you notice and appreciate their hard work.
You may be more of a boss than a leader, and you may not like that one bit—but good news: Change is possible. Implement some of these changes today!
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.
He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.