There is a difference between being a boss and a leader. One manages their employees, while the other inspires them to innovate, think creatively, and strive for perfection. Every team has a boss, but what people need is a leader. Not sure how to tell the difference between the two? Here are some key traits that differentiate bosses from leaders.
1. A boss is a know it all; a leader is always willing to learn
Nobody likes someone who thinks they know everything there is about the world. The same goes for a boss. A leader will always look to grow as a person and gain new insights and knowledge about their area of focus.
2. A boss talks more than they listen; a leader listens more than they talk
By taking the time to listen to their team members, leaders can really focus on what their team needs/wants, understand the problem, and truly grasp what people are asking of them.
3. A boss gives answers; leaders seek solutions
A boss will just give you the answer to your problem, while a leader will help you to find the solution.
4. A boss criticizes while a leader encourages
Constructive criticism is needed every now and then to help someone improve. But constantly being told what they are doing wrong not only discourages a person, but causes them to disengage. Encouraging someone to improve and do their best invigorates employees to work harder and smarter.
5. A boss will point out weaknesses; a leader recognizes natural gifts
Most people know what their weaknesses are, but sometimes pointing out an area that needs improving is necessary. But similar to what was said in the point above, only hearing what is wrong can make a person feel useless and doubt themselves. By pointing out someone’s strengths, they feel empowered as well it helps them to know how they can best serve their team.
6. A boss directs while a leader coaches
Behind every great sports team there is a great coach and there’s a reason for that. Coaches help guide the team, but ultimately it’s up to the individual players to execute a strategy and adjust as they face challenges. Being told what to do doesn’t lend itself to individual growth or help members develop problem solving abilities.
7. A boss will defend their ego; a leader reveals vulnerability
It takes a lot of courage and strength to reveal one’s vulnerabilities. The easier route is to protect one’s ego, but what marks a true leader is being able to show vulnerability.
8. A boss focuses on themselves; a leader focuses on the team
Having a “we” instead of a “me” attitude motivates people to collaborate, and do their best so in the end everyone wins – not just one person.
9. A boss puts blame on others; a leader takes accountability
No one wants to work for someone who places blame when things go wrong. A leader will share the blame when things go sour (because they will) and takes responsibility for the team’s actions.
10. A boss demands results while a leader inspires performance
Great leaders inspire others to perform better and out do themselves. Inspiring others to go above and beyond what is necessary is something only leaders can accomplish.