Yes, if you are a manager or supervisor, you are the boss. You have the authority to ask others to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, but this power doesn’t necessarily make you a leader. What’s the difference? Leaders make their followers want to achieve the goals planned out for them. Bosses tell you what to do; leaders inspire you to do them.
Now, being a boss doesn’t mean one is bad, and being a leader doesn’t mean you’re automatically good. But if your job requires you to manage people, it’s time to ask yourself: am I a boss or a leader?
True leadership means inspiring others to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. So good leaders need to set a good example. They don’t place demands on others or attempt to lead through intimidation. The idea is to earn your followers’ approval and cause them to want to do their best for you.
Here’s an example: Consider a grocery store. The boss might see shelves that need to be stocked, employees that need to be scheduled, doors that need to be fixed, floors that need to be cleaned, and the year-end staff party that needs to be planned. They work to get these duties accomplished, day in and day out, and employees are just a means to an end.
On the other hand, a leader would see the same things, but he or she also would inspire the staff to realize that they are the front line ambassadors of the store. They would share their vision of the store in the future, where it is now and where it could be in ten years. They would get the employees excited about sharing in that vision and that long range goal.
Good leaders surround themselves with intelligent people. They’re not threatened by people who are smarter or more talented than they are, and they’re not afraid to admit it if they don’t know something. Contrast this with the boss who always has to be right.
A good leader will take the time to acknowledge employee’s differences and how to work work as a team with overcome them. They take the time to figure out how to use people’s individual strengths to maximize potential.
When you’re in a position of authority, it’s important to remember that with power comes responsibility, and responsibility means taking care with your words and actions. Nobody is perfect, but a leader is aware that their words have meaning, are being listened to and taken seriously and that their actions affect those around them. If you’re a good leader, many are apt to follow you, so you’ll need to think about whether you’re setting a good example or a bad one.
At Employment Professionals Canada, we know what makes a leader because we are a leader in our field! When you need to hire skilled employees, we’re the people to contact about not only your staffing needs, but leadership training as well.