The Six Characteristics That Separate Real Leaders From Mediocre Bosses
Not all bosses are seen as leaders. Bosses and leaders are similar in definition but their characteristics are very different. For example, here’s a few circumstances where leaders separate themselves from mere bosses.
1. Build trust
A leader builds trust by guiding, motivating, and inspiring their team. Once this foundation is formed, increased productivity and job satisfaction will follow organically. To achieve this, leaders share their vision and their expectations to their employees. They also keep the communication open throughout the process.
Micromanaging is a distinct trait of poor, ineffective bosses. Asking for project updates every 20 minutes. Shadowing an employee’s every move. Dictating how tasks should be completed. Controlling employees in every way possible doesn’t show great leadership. As a result, the organization suffers through decreased productivity and mediocre output.
Work can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions. People have their ups and downs when doing a project and stress is constantly lurking. Motivation is important to keep emotional and mental health in check to continue performing at a high level. Leaders have empathy and provide coaching to those employees who are struggling.
Managing through fear does not boost performance. If your boss is looking over your shoulder every few minutes, know that you deserve better.
3. Get involved
Bosses are completely focused on outcomes. Leaders oversee this process as well but get involved in the process together with the team.
Take initiative and participate in key project events. Leaders are a part of the team while bosses see themselves as above them.
4. Take personal responsibility
When things go wrong or when mistakes are made, a boss will look to protect themselves first and look for others to blame.
A leader, takes responsibility for the mistake on behalf of the team, and then fix the mistake. For a leader, fixing the issue is his focus, not pinning the blame on someone.
5. Constantly be Learning
Leaders are always learning on the job and freely admit that they don’t know everything.
In contrast, a typical boss is insecure and afraid that that their lack of knowledge is a weakness or vulnerability. A boss will seek to hide this weakness by pretending to have all the answers, even if they’re dead wrong. That’s the danger of appearing to be a “know it all”.
By providing false solutions to issues, a weak boss delays the team from finding the true solution to problems. A leader admits their limitations and then provides their best guidance possible to the team to help them find their own solutions.
6. Lead, don’t boss
People don’t want to be treated like machines or be abused. They want to be valued as much as their customers or clients. Remember the golden rule? That applies on the work premises as well.
Employees want to see opportunities and growth while on the job. Leaders ensure they have a lot to offer and are ready to meet their goals.