Would you consider yourself to be the boss or a leader? Or even both?
Do you consider your superior (if you have one) to be your boss, manager, leader or something else?
What about your team, do you think they would consider you their leader?
We regularly hear about the importance of effective leadership, but we are not always aware of the differences between being the boss, being a manager or being a leader and we don’t always look at our own environment, how we might be viewed and how we might improve. So, why should you and how do you go from being just the boss to a super successful leader?
Why Focus on Leadership?
A recent study by Investors in People found that 1 in 4 of us are unhappy at work with 49% of people citing poor management as the reason. In my opinion you can’t be a good manager or a good boss without first being a good leader. If you want to know more read our latest blogs on why poor management is killing your business and what is effective leadership.
Gone are the days of getting a job and sticking with it until retirement. Spending so much time at work means people are looking for work to be an enjoyable place, a good work life balance and a boss that listens to them and provides encouragement and feedback. The rise of the millennials has changed the world of work from just a job to an experience. Being just a boss is not enough to keep and retain great staff anymore, our teams want and deserve more, and the future of management and leadership needs more.
Steps to Move from Boss to Leader
Having worked in leadership and management training for many years, I have a lot of experience of the good, the bad and the ugly and below are some steps you can take to develop from being just a boss or just a manager into a successful leader.
- Teach don’t tell
A good leader is like a good teacher and looks for ways to improve the team. Providing advice and guidance, celebrating successes and helping when they struggle.
- Inspire don’t intimidate
A strong leader supports team members to grow and learn, recognising strengths and improving weaknesses rather than looking for ways to demonstrate their authority. Would your team follow you even if you weren’t a manager, the boss or supervisor?
- Listen don’t just hear
Poor managers will hear feedback but do nothing with it, and believe their own ideas are the only ones that matter. Good leaders will value feedback from their team as much as their own opinion.
- Inquire don’t command
Successful leaders will inquire with the team what is possible for them to deliver on when setting goals. Now there are times when the deadline has to be met no matter what the opinion of the team is, this is where effective leaders will inquire with the team and then put resources in to overcome any obstacles. Commanding the deadline is met without any support is going to create stress and worry for the team, divide the manager and the team and most likely the deadline will be missed anyway.
- Lead by example
Effective leaders will allow autonomy, trusting their team but they are not afraid to get hands on when needed and wouldn’t ask the team to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.
- Support don’t nag
A good leader understands and respects the teams work life balance, knowing a happy team produce the best work. Effective planning allows the whole team to manage work effectively. Poor managers will delegate work and only care about when its competed and how it impacts them.
- Set clear and realistic goals not unclear and impossible
Through listening and inquiring with your team, you can set realistic and achievable goals, although still aspirational. An effective leader clearly communicates the objectives and goals to the team and their individual role in achieving them. Unclear or unattainable goals set by bad bosses confuse and disengage the team. Ask yourself and your team, is this achievable, is this realistic? If the answer is no, change it or add resource in to make it achievable.
- Invest in learning
We wouldn’t drive a car without learning how to drive first so invest in yourself, invest in your team and invest in your business. Find out how FP training can help
Being a successful leader should be seen as a journey and not a destination. John F Kennedy said, leadership and learning are inseparable to each other and I would agree.
Being a boss or manager alone is no longer enough and focussing on developing your leadership is vitally important to attract, motivate, inspire and retain the best staff.
Find out how FP training can help you focus on leadership and be more than just a boss, how we can help develop your leaders and improve team performance. Call us on 01332 527144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Lastly, if you remember nothing else from this post, please remember these vital words of wisdom!
“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight Eisenhower