What I mean by that is that they stop being a leader, and start acting like a boss.
A boss who supervises a staff.
The staff reports to the boss, just like it says on the organizational chart.
And they do exactly what the boss says, because, of course, “He’s the boss!“
In other words, the leader becomes a not-so-pleasant person that creates a not-so-enjoyable work environment, and brings progress to a screeching halt.
Therefore it’s really important that we recognize the 15 most significant differences between acting like a boss and being a leader, so we can avoid a rapid descent into mediocrity or failure.
- A boss only sees things in black and white, while the leader also sees the grey
- A boss likes to tell, while the leader prefers to teach
- A boss likes being on a pedestal, above the fray, while the leader likes to be among those they lead
- A boss gets lost in the details, while the leader keeps the big picture
- A boss rules by fear, while the leader inspires with trust
- A boss displays great hubris, while the leader shows quiet humility
- A boss likes to talk, while the leader prefers to listen
- A boss wants to dictate, while the leader would rather collaborate
- A boss outlines the “What”, while the leader also always explains the “Why”
- A boss thinks first about profit, while the leader thinks first about people
- A boss gets lost in process, while the leader gets absorbed in performance
- A boss is a disabler, while the leader is an enabler
- A boss criticizes, while the leader coaches
- A boss manages to an end, while the leader serves for a purpose
- A boss demotivates with impassiveness, while a leader inspires with caring & empathy
Keep this list handy, or better yet, post it on your personal bulletin board as you continue on your leadership journey, so you can recognize any Boss Man tendencies and stop them in their tracks.
BE a leader, not a boss!
Update 2/25/13: Download a FREE mini-poster based on this post HERE
Update 7/17/13: See me on video talking about these differences below (and HERE)