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6 Traits that Separate Leaders from Bosses

Not all bosses are seen leaders. Their roles can be similar in definition but their characteristics can be different depending on the person. A strong and effective leader evokes a positive environment. Contrast this to someone who’s deemed as a “boss” but only care for himself and his image while neglecting his team. If you aim to climb the corporate ladder, then aim to become a great leader and not just a boss. To get a better picture, here a few circumstances where leaders separate themselves from mere bosses.

1. Build trust, don’t micromanage

A leader builds trust by guiding, motivating, and inspiring their team. Once this foundation is formed, increased productivity and job satisfaction will follow organically. To achieve this, leaders share their vision and their expectations to their employees and they keep the communication open throughout the process.

Micromanaging is a distinct trait of inefficient bosses. Asking for project updates every 20 minutes, shadowing an employee’s every move, dictating how tasks should be done, and controlling them in any way possible doesn’t exactly demonstrate great leadership. Hence, results in decreased productivity and mediocre output.

Related: 7 Ways to Inspire Your Team

2. Motivate, not terrify

Work, regardless of which industry, is a rollercoaster ride of emotions—people have their ups and downs when doing a project and stress is constantly lurking. With this, motivation is important to keep one’s emotional and mental health in check to keep performing at a high level. Leaders have empathy and provide coaching to those employees who are struggling.

Managing through fear will not boost your employees’ performance. In fact, it will diminish performance since no one can function well under constant pressure and where burnout becomes inevitable. If you have a controlling and terrifying boss looking over your shoulder every minute, know that you deserve better.

3. Get involved, don’t be aloof

Bosses usually give their attention to outcomes and the continuous function of the organization. On the other hand, leaders oversee this process as well, but they get involved in the process together with the people who work on it.

It’s always better to take initiative and participate in events and activities inside and beyond the workplace while observing your professional boundaries. Having someone willingly jump in to help you make progress, assist you during difficult tasks, and help you get through stressful times raises job satisfaction. Leaders are a part of the team while bosses see themselves as above them.

Related: 7 Bad Management Habits and How to Break Them

4. Take personal responsibility, don’t blame others

When things go wrong or when mistakes are made, a boss will look to protect themselves first and look for others to blame.  A leader, on the other hand, will take responsibility for the mistake on behalf of the team and then take action to fix the mistake.  For a leader, fixing the issue is his focus, not pinning the blame on someone.

5. Learn, don’t be a “know it all”

Even in a leadership role, leaders are always learning on the job and will freely admit that they don’t know everything.  Bosses are insecure and afraid that that their lack of knowledge is a vulnerability and will seek to hide it by pretending to have all the answers, even if they’re dead wrong.  That’s the danger of appearing to be a “know it all”.  By providing false solutions to issues, a boss delays the team from finding the true solution to problems. A leader admits their limitations and then provides their best guidance possible to the team to help them find their own solutions.

Related: What Business Owners Should Learn From Donald Trump

6. Lead, don’t boss

People don’t want to be treated like machines or be abused. They want to be valued as much as their customers or clients. Remember the golden rule? That applies on the work premises as well.

Employees want to see opportunities and growth while on the job. Leaders ensure they have a lot to offer and are ready to meet their goals. Innovated tech companies such as Google and Facebook are good examples where the leadership of these organizations focus on the welfare of their employees, which leads to generating great ideas.

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