Many times the boss thinks they’re a leader but in the end, they’re really just a boss. There is a difference between being someone who is a boss and then being someone who leads.
Being a boss is easy. Being a leader is the tough part.
Anyone can tell others what to do. It’s not hard. We’ve all sent emails requesting others to do things. If you’ve ever supervised others you’ve done the “walk” to their cubicle or desk. Instructed them, hopefully with some respect, to do a task.
You’re doing a good boss thing. You’re getting results. Productivity is happening.
But you’re not leading.
The Brilliant Leader Starts From Within
I first became a supervisor when I was 28-years-old with no experience, directly overseeing a team. Suddenly, I was responsible for 13 technicians. I knew what their jobs were. I knew what I wanted them to accomplish. So of course, I told them what to do.
I achieved results because my employees had to do their jobs. However, there wasn’t teamwork. There wasn’t drive to go above and beyond. There was the boss, me, telling the workers what to do and when to do it. In some cases, I was telling them how to do it.
I was a boss.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
As John C. Maxwell said, a leader shows the way. I knew the way I wanted my team to follow. But I struggled to show them the way. I didn’t trust in my staff and their experience. Worst of all, I didn’t listen to them. I wasn’t leading with my best self and therefore I wasn’t leading at all.
- Listening. I listen to my staff. Whatever they say. Their concerns. Their personal issues if they choose to share. Most importantly, I listen to their ideas and their suggestions.
- Respect. I show respect to each one of my employees, each day. Respecting another person is not the same as liking the other person. Each of us deserves basic respect. Show your staff you respect them.
- Habits. My work habits and to a big extent, my personal ones, dictate how I lead. Showing my staff how I want them to perform is the “vision” I want them to see. As a leader, our habits guide us and therefore guide our teams. If you haven’t read Stephen Covey, you must read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Each day I strive to maintain a leadership presence among my staff. My habits are listening to them and guiding them. They do the work, and sometimes I chip-in to lead by example.
Employees want guidance but want independence and opportunities to show their talent. Let them go and show you. Show them the way.