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Being a boss vs being a leader

In the corporate world, the terms “boss” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they represent two distinct approaches to managing a team. The way one chooses to lead can significantly impact the success and satisfaction of their team members. This is especially pertinent for interim managers, who have a short window to engage with their team and build rapport. In this blog, we will delve into the key differences between being a boss and being a leader, focusing on five crucial principles that set them apart.

1.Don’t blame, help improve

A boss often points fingers at team members when things go wrong. Blaming and shaming can create a culture of fear and defensiveness within the team. Hence, this approach does little to foster personal and professional growth.

On the other hand, a leader will avoid placing blame and instead focus on where improvements can be made. Build an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities that can lead to innovation and growth. Supporting your team, rather than punishing them, creates trust and promotes wider productivity.

  1. Work as part of the team, rather than a dictator

Rather than acting as the ultimate authority and making decisions unilaterally, try to work collaboratively with your team and take time to listen to their contributions. If you don’t actively engage in daily tasks and work alongside your team then you will likely create a sense of disconnect – and without unity, how can we expect a team to stay driven? 

  1. Asking is always better than demanding

Think about it, you’re more likely to complete a task should you be asked politely rather than commanded. This approach can create a culture of fear, where team members may feel pressured to follow orders without question. In turn, this stifles creativity and autonomy – something we don’t want in the workplace! 

In order to become a leader, you should show that you value the perspectives and opinions of team members and involve them in decision-making processes. This approach empowers team members, promotes open communication, and encourages innovation.

  1. Explain, Don’t Expect

When adopting the role of a boss, it’s not uncommon to expect team members to intuitively understand your vision. This assumption can result in a lack of clear guidance, leaving team members in the dark. As a consequence, confusion and frustration can take hold, particularly among those who don’t have a comprehensive understanding of their role within the broader context. Ultimately, this lack of clarity can hinder overall productivity within the team.

In contrast, leaders recognise the importance of taking the time to explain their vision and expectations. They don’t leave things to chance but instead provide their team with context, clarity, and a thorough understanding of the reasoning behind their decisions. By doing so, leaders ensure that team members are aligned with the overarching goals, fostering a sense of understanding, commitment, and purpose that fuels productivity and teamwork.

Give credit where it’s due 

Last, but not least, try and get into the habit of acknowledging your team member’s individual and collective efforts. This practice not only boosts morale but also inspires loyalty and motivation among team members, encouraging them to deliver their best work consistently. If you’re constantly expecting a top performance from your team, yet always taking credit and downplaying their contributions from the company then they will ultimately be left feeling demotivated and underappreciated. 

In the world of management, there’s a difference between being a boss and being a leader. While a boss may focus on authority, commands, and blame, a leader emphasises collaboration, guidance, and support. By embodying the five principles discussed in this blog, you can nurture a more positive and productive work environment that fosters growth, innovation, and the success of your team. 

So, ask yourself: Are you being a boss or a leader? Your choice can make all the difference in your team’s success and happiness.

On the lookout for new opportunities? Get in touch with our consultancy team on 0203 929 4000 today.

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