Are you working for a boss or are you working for a leader?
In unfortunate working situations, those two words don’t always mean the same thing. How do you spot one from the other?
Here are a few things to consider:
1. A boss commands. A leader instructs after taking the time to listen to his people.
Boss: Do this, then that. And when you’re done, do it all over again.
Leader: Are these things doable in this time frame? If so, you can start on it. If not, do you have suggestions?
2. A boss wants you to do it his way. A leader collaborates to find the smartest actions possible.
Boss: This is the way we do things here and that’s how we’ll continue
to do it.
Leader: Let’s try out your way and compare the efforts and the results after. Maybe there’s a way to integrate your suggestions into the workflow.
3. A boss demands results. A leader takes his part in the workload.
Boss: Are you finished with your task? I expect to see results by
Leader: How's the task going? Let me know if you need my help.
4. A boss seems to know everything there is to know. A leader admits he is always learning.
Boss: Yes, I knew that.
Leader: I didn’t know that. Thanks for pointing it out.
5. When something goes wrong, a boss reprimands. With the help of his team, a leader seeks solutions.
Boss: Why did you do that? It cost us time, effort and money.
Leader: Let’s figure out what exactly went wrong here and then let’s try to come up with a solution, see what we can save.
6. A boss will save his neck and let others take the fall. A leader is someone who will protect you.
Boss: I gave my employees the responsibility over this task. The
results are theirs to deal with.
Leader: I take responsibility over this task. They were responsible for the task but I could have given more of a guiding hand.
7. A boss works his people until he gets the end result. A leader recognizes when his people need to recharge.
Boss: Work on this as fast as you can. We only have a few days left.
Leader: Try to get some rest if you can. A fresh, rested mind is always more useful than a tired one.
8. A boss is simply someone you see at the office. A leader inspires his people and motivates them to do better.
Boss: *As he passes by, crickets chirp in awkwardness.
Leader: *As he passes by, he smiles and gives you a thumbs up.
9. A boss hires who he thinks can do fit the job description. A leader hires better than him.
Boss: You’re qualified for this job. Welcome to the company.
Leader: You’re above and beyond qualified for the job. It would be great to have you on our team and see how we can make things better. Welcome to the company.
10. You work for a boss. You work with a leader.
Superiors can fluctuate from one spectrum to the other. If they're nearing the boss spectrum, perhaps it's time to talk to your HR department. Yes, they are people too and they aren’t perfect but, working for a boss and working with a leader makes a world of difference in how much you grow in the workplace.
If you’re a supervisor, know that the energy and the attitude you bring to the table shapes the daily lives of the people around you. If you’re under a supervisor, though it’s up to you to take initiative in your career, your supervisor needs to be right there with you as an encouraging equal.
If they ask more of you, it’s only fair that you ask more of them. Know what a leader is and be one.