Being a boss has evolved over time. Gone are the days of being a “dictator” or micro manager, and having little understanding of how individuals feel, not leveraging individual and team strengths, and putting little if any time and resources into development planning.

The best bosses aren’t bosses – they are leaders.
—Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D.

Differentiators – Boss vs. Leader

Praveen Challa provided us with the following differentiators:

A Boss…                                     A Leader…
Drives employees                         Coaches employees
Depends on authority                 Depends on goodwill
Inspires fear                                  Generates enthusiasm
Says “I”                                           Says “We”
Places blame for breakdowns    Fixes the breakdown
Knows how it’s done                   Shows how it’s done
Uses people                                   Develops people
Takes credit                                   Gives credit
Commands                                    Asks
Says “go”                                        Says “let’s go”

In our interactions with individuals and teams, we’ve had the following thoughts shared about what a great leader is. Some include:

  • Great leaders are great listeners. They listen closely and make others feel that they’ve been heard.
  • Great leaders genuinely care about their staff’s careers and not just about performing tasks. They conduct one-on-one sessions with their staff and provide mentoring and coaching, and review each individual’s progress against development plans.
  • Great leaders understand and appreciate differences and respond to individuals in their preferred style. They accept that everyone is unique and special, and adapt their styles as needed, ultimately strengthening relationships and improving results.
  • Great leaders stretch their people to excellence and provide meaningful feedback.
  • Great leaders are “in the boat“ with you and have compassion for the things you’re experiencing. You can feel their involvement; they make themselves visible and available during difficult times.
  • Great leaders truly feel PEOPLE come first, and their actions and behaviors reflect this. They’re authentic, mean what they say, and deliver on what was committed to.

Are there any behaviors you could change to become a stronger leader?

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