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Start-Ups

10 Ways to Be a Leader and Not Just a Boss

By Townes Haas   |    March 4, 2014   |    4:50 PM


Ever wondered why some companies have loyal and dedicated employees while other companies can’t get someone to stay longer than 6 months? Generally, this has to do with leadership. Employees like to work for people that value them as a resource, not just another number.

While all owners and managers can be bosses, not all bosses are leaders. There are distinct differentiators.

Differences Between a Boss and Leader

Preaches vs. Teaches: A person that is just a boss simply tells you what to do. A leader wants to hear what his team is saying, encourage them to speak their mind and have employees take charge of projects and situations.

Takes All the Credit vs. Acknowledges Others: A boss will take the credit for any success while a leader will give credit to team members.

Debbie Downer vs. Motivator: Mistakes happen in business. A boss will harshly criticize the person or team that made the mistake. A leader will point out what was done right, and then coach team members through what they did wrong. The point is not to make the person feel bad. The point is to help them learn from the situation.

Talking vs. Listening: A boss likes to do most of the talking. They prefer everything their way. A leader wants to listen to what others are saying, learn from it and use his teams’ ideas to improve his plan or goals.

Profit vs. People: A boss only thinks about the company’s bottom line. He wants to get richer. A leader knows that his team is the reason that he will be successful and that people are a better investment. If his team is motivated, they’ll work that much harder to make the company successful.

Ego-driven vs. Humble: Bosses must be the center of attention – the “leader”. They know that they’re better than others, even their own team. A leader wants to ensure that the job gets done and won’t brag about his accomplishments.

Sits on a Pedestal vs. In the Trenches: Most bosses don’t like to get their hands dirty, even if it means that a project won’t get done on time. A leader works alongside his team on tight deadlines and big projects, helping them with that they need.

Unemotional vs. Empathetic: Bosses don’t really care about your needs as an employee. They just want you to do your job. A leader is empathetic and caring.

The What vs. The Why: Bosses hand out assignments, never explaining the purpose of it – only that it needs to get done. Leaders explain why team members are receiving the assignment and why it’s necessary. This ensures that employees will trust him and understand the overall goals.

Detail-driven vs. Big Picture: Bosses focus solely on the details of a problem, but often never look for a solution. Leaders like to keep project and company goals at the forefront. They won’t do anything that doesn’t support these goals.

Businesses need leaders. Without the guidance, support and education that a leader can provide, your business runs the risk of failing your customer due to lack of commitment and dedication from your most valuable resource; strong teams and an energized staff.