A boss can influence people but have no real followers. A leader must only influence followers. A boss has workers who follow because they have to. A leader has a team who follow because they want to.
People from all over the world debate what exactly a leader is, and they do this every day. When you think of our “world leaders”, would you actually call them “world leaders?” Do you really want to follow them? Because, that is exactly what a leader is, a person who has followers.
A leader is not a person who has people reporting into them, or someone who has the title of supervisor or manager. Do you have followers right now?
1. Adding Value To Others
To be a leader, you must add value to others, and it is really important what you value. That’s the difference between a leader and a boss. I bet that right now you are wondering whether your line manager or your boss adds value to you, it’s only natural to think that.
Try not to think about it, it will draw up things that you might blame them for, or might like them less for. It’s important that you keep an open mind here.
Rather than think if your boss adds value to you or not, think about how you can add value to them. By that I mean, how can you help your boss? What can you offer to him/her in terms of help that will add value? My main purpose for this section is for you to think a bit differently here.
I want you to look within, and think about yourself. My articles are not just about being a leader at work, it is about being a leader in life also. Whether you’re at home, out with friends or on holiday. We need to be the same person and display the same leadership qualities wherever we are and whoever we are with.
2. What Do You Value?
Do you know the difference between a boss and a leader? If you do, what would you rather be? What do you value? If you value having the position, job title and power over the team, then you will be a boss.
If you value having a positive influence on the team, then you will be a leader. That’s a decision you have to make, so make the right decision because this is where you create the future you really want.
The difference between a boss and a leader is how they make us feel. If you have children, or young members of the family, even though they are not leadership experts, they can tell the difference between a boss and leader….believe me.
On many occasions throughout my career, I worked with more bosses than I did leaders. I know this because they made me feel:
On the other occasions when I did work with a leader, I know I did because they made me feel:
Think back to when you were a child, and when you were with your parents. Could you tell if they were leaders or bosses? Was one of your parents a leader and the other a boss? My mother is definitely a leader and a boss at the same time, depending on who she is talking to (I have three older brothers), or if we were being naughty.
I definitely follow my mother. My father is definitely a leader because he did so much for us and helped us in his own unique way, and he is one of the reason’s I am building this website and helping others. I want to do so much to help you.
Are you a parent? If you are, then be honest with yourself. Does your child or children consider you a leader or a boss? When your children look at you every day, what do they see? If you look at the two lists above, how do you make your children feel? Do you care how you make your children feel?
3. Being A Boss And Being A Leader
As a hard worker working in your current position and team, your line manager or supervisor sometimes has to be a leader and sometimes has to be a boss depending on the situation. What is he/she the most?
Do they lead at the right times? Do they boss at the right times? You can tell this because when they are leading, they are selling, and when they are bossing, they are telling.
To be a leader within the team, your team members will be the ones who determine this. They do this because they will know that you believe in them, and you make them feel great.
If people feel great around you then your leadership and your influence increases. If they feel bad around you then your leadership and influence decreases.
So, when you interact with people, even if the conversation is not about a pleasant topic, you need to apply your leadership principles to ensure the person you are interacting with still feels good around you.
If you can do that, then your people will definitely spread a positive message about you.
4. Being Honest With Yourself
If you are reading this and you are a supervisor/team leader or you are a manager, then be honest with yourself. Does your team look at you and see a boss or a leader? Does your team feel great when they are around you? Does your team feel bad when they are around you?
How much do you care about how you make them feel? How do you feel when you are around your team? It is a two way street, but to make your team feel great, you really need to care about them.
Be the leader that you want to see in others. Your leader may or may not be a great leader, but that shouldn’t stop you being a great leader. If you have a team of your own, change yourself so you are that leader you wish you always had.
As I have said before, leading yourself and leading people is not about the position or the job title. Leading you and leading people is about the decision that you make on a daily basis.
Before I took up the position of a supervisor or a manager in my career, I always questioned myself if I had what it takes to be a leader. I knew I could be, but at that moment in time, “did I fit the mould?” I would ask myself.
Ask yourself, if you have a position of a supervisor/manager or not, do you think you fit the mould right now of a leader?
To be a highly effective leader takes courage. To be a highly effective leader takes confidence. To be a highly effective leader, you must have the ability to listen to the needs of others. To be a highly effective leader, you must have the empathy and the compassion to understand the needs of others.
Go through the two lists above, and be honest with yourself. Are you striving to become a highly effective leader leader, RIGHT NOW?
A true leader does not decide that he/she is a leader, the team, friends, family and associates decide that. They decide it on how they make them feel.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,