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Power Vs. Leadership: How To Be A Leader, Not Just A Boss
February 01, 2020

Power Vs. Leadership: How To Be A Leader, Not Just A Boss

The terms boss and leader often get used interchangeably. Being a boss, however, isn’t the same thing as being a leader. In fact, there are many differences between bosses and leaders. If you’d like to retain your employees and grow your business, good leadership abilities are essential.

Keep in mind that it takes time and experience to turn into a strong leader. Therefore, if you’re not quite there yet, rest assured your leadership skills will evolve. As long as you commit to being a great leader, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come. Keep reading to learn about becoming a strong leader.

The Importance Of Being A Leader

The importance of becoming a leader can’t be overlooked by any business owner. When your organization has leadership, it does the following.

  • Provides Guidance: Leadership guides your employees toward the right direction. It allows them to grow in their professional lives and uphold your business goals.
  • Promotes Creativity: Creativity is often the key to success. Without it, it can be difficult to stand out from your competitors. A leader encourages others to think out-of-the-box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
  • Instills Motivation: When you lead effectively, you motivate employees to be productive and work hard. Motivated employees result in increased efficiency and retention as well as less turnover. They also improve the quality of your products or services.
  • Fosters Effective Communication: Strong communication enables you to share what you know and what you expect from your employees. It ensures everyone is on the same page and eliminates confusion. Verbal and written communication are equally as important.
  • Resolves Conflicts: Unfortunately, conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. The good news, however, is that they can be resolved quickly with an effective leader. A leader knows how to evaluate conflicts, understand different points of view, and steer employees toward fair solutions.

Leaders Take A Hands-On Approach

Some people believe that leadership is about creating a vision and bringing it to life by delegating tasks to others. They assume that leaders should take care of the high-level aspects of their business and leave the implementation to their employees. With this hands-off approach, employees may lack the support they need to succeed.

The reality is that good leaders take a hands-on approach to their organization. They’re heavily involved in day-to-day initiatives, no matter how big or small they are. You’ll rarely see them in their office all day.

Instead, they attend meetings with employees, offer valuable insight, and inspire their team to succeed. They encourage employees to come to them when they have questions or need help. It’s important to note that leaders empower, rather than micromanage, as they trust their team.

Leaders Are Supportive, Setting Goals That Are Realistic

A supportive leader doesn’t strive to achieve all of their goals independently. Instead, they act as a coach and turn to employees for help.

Employees know that leaders are open to criticism, new ideas, and corrections when necessary. They feel comfortable opening up to them and expressing their thoughts and feelings. No matter how busy a leader is, they make time to listen to their team.

Also, a supportive leader takes the time to listen to employee complaints and help their team members work through difficult situations. They show empathy and sensitivity toward their employees and educate them on how to cope with their challenges.

In addition, a supportive leader is optimistic, even when the going gets tough. They know how to be positive and energize their team when there are conflicts, tight deadlines, and new rules. Nothing can bring down their morale and their positivity radiates to their employees.

Leaders Both Learn And Inspire

Leaders realize they don’t know everything. They turn to others to expand their knowledge and expertise on various topics. Workshops, networking events, and other employees are invaluable to them because they want to learn and grow.

An inspiring leader is just as important as one who loves to learn. So, what exactly does an inspiring leader do? First and foremost, they’re grateful for their team. They show appreciation toward them and ensure their efforts are noticed and praised.

In addition, an inspiring leader knows exactly what they’d like the future to look like. They’re confident in what they’re striving to achieve. This clear vision of the future allows them to show employees what they need to do to get there.

Lastly, an inspiring leader listens to everything that’s said to them and respond appropriately. They encourage employee feedback and have an open door policy that everyone appreciates.

5 Traits Of “Bosses”

A boss is someone who has control over authority over employees. They have the right to tell others what to do and make decisions on their behalf. Most bosses display these traits.

1. Intimidation

An intimidating boss is aggressive in nature and attempts to complete tasks by making commands. They often have a big ego and believe that they’re superior to the people around them. Employees feel a sense of worry and fear when they see or interact with a boss who intimidates them.

2. Watching Without Doing

A boss likes to sit back, relax, and watch others work. They have no problem sitting in their office all day without helping their team. In their opinion, employees are the ones that should do the work. According to them, their job is to watch and evaluate.

3. Hearing, Not Listening

There’s a difference between hearing employees and listening to them. A boss hears employees every time they speak. However, everything they say goes in one ear and out the other. They fail to listen and actually process what’s being said.

4. A Hands-Off Approach

Since a boss typically has a big ego, they think they’re “too good” to be involved in day-to-day activities. While they may come to the office every day, they don’t make themselves available or approachable. It’s not uncommon for them to hide in their office the majority of the work day.

5. Commanding

A boss, just like a dog owner, makes commands. They tell their employees that they must do tasks. Their commands often intimidate employees, making them feel like they have no control over their jobs. Commands discourage rather than motivate others.

5 Traits Of “Leaders”

Contrary to popular belief, leaders aren’t just individuals who have authority. Instead, they help a team grow and meet (or even exceed) their goals. Below are some of the most common traits of leaders.

1. Inspirational

The title “CEO,” “Vice President,” or “Manager” doesn’t make a leader inspirational. Their ability to motivate others to reach great success does. An inspirational leader demonstrates integrity, sensitivity, inclusion, and communication. They genuinely care about their vision and work to turn it into a reality.

2. Education-Focused

Leaders want to help their team members learn and improve. That’s why they educate them by sharing their own knowledge, encouraging conference attendance, and promoting networking organizations. They hope to see others take on new and additional responsibilities and grow in their careers.

3. Knows To Listen

Rather than interrupting others while they speak or disregarding their thoughts, leaders patiently listen. They are strong advocates of two-way communication. When an individual speaks to a leader, they know they’re being listened to instead of simply being heard.

4. Dives Into Things

Leaders don’t wait until the perfect moment to get started on something. Instead, they dive into their tasks right away. They figure things out as they go and rely on their team members to help them out. Leaders know there’s never a “right time” to work toward their goals.

5. A Hands-On Approach

A hands-on approach involves learning and growing alongside employees. Leaders who take this type of approach are content with taking on tasks that bosses may never consider. Employees respect them more because they know how everything works.

Leadership Leads To Success

Strong leadership is powerful. It gives organizations of all shapes and sizes the inspiration, motivation, and support they need to excel. If you’re a small business owner who would like to succeed with flying colors, be a leader, not a boss. You’ll reap the benefits right away.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a leader and a boss?

While a boss manages employees, a leader inspires them. They allow them to think out-of-the-box and reach their full potential.

How can an organization benefit from leadership?

Leadership can benefit an organization in a variety of ways. It provides guidance, promotes creativity, instills motivation, fosters positive communication, and resolves conflict.

What do bosses do that leaders avoid?

Bosses intimidate their subordinates, hear instead of listen, make commands, and take a hands-off approach to management.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].