Boss vs. Leader

megaphoneWhen you think about the bosses you’ve had and the boss that you have become, where are the intersections? I read an interesting piece recently entitled, Is Your Boss Easier to Train Than a Dog? While the title might be somewhat insulting to some bosses, the author actually made some great points about how to be a good employee and therefore train your boss to treat you better. (Although I think that most bosses would object to the notion of being trained.)

The author talks about 4 ways to do this “training:”

  • Get personal
  • Get off to the right foot and stay there
  • Become an advisor, not a whiner
  • Cut your boss a break

Realistically, these are good employee behaviors in any work environment.

We tend to treat people as we wish to be treated, and good leaders take it a step further and treat others as they want to be treated. I think a fundamental difference between bossmen talking and leader is that a boss makes decisions and treats others from the point of view of the boss – meaning what’s best for them, the company, etc. A leader looks at the situation from the employees’ point-of-view, treats them the way they want to be treated, and takes all factors into consideration when making decisions. There is no manual for being a leader, but if you’ve had a good boss, you’ve seen good leadership.

Good leaders hold themselves and others accountable, listen well, mentor, consider multiple opinions before making decisions, and keep the goal in sight.
They “lead” others there with them, they don’t “boss” them around to make it happen. No one wants to be bossed around, but few object to being led.

Think back to your favorite bosses and you will find good lessons in leadership. What did you learn? How did they interact with you? How did you feel about them and your career? Did they care? Remember that leadership is really an art. You can learn a lot from reading and books, but at the end of the day, it’s about your leadership style – your values – your legacy. Do you want to be remembered as a boss or a leader?