One manages employees, deals with everyday issues and works towards their own personal goals. The other inspires their employees, listens to them and encourages creative thinking. A good leader facilitates a happy, committed workforce and reduces employee turnover.
A boss demands power, control and can often have a self-righteous attitude towards their employees. In contrast, a leader inspires their team. They encourage staff to learn, grow and develop professionally as this contributes towards wider business success. A leader will recognise weaknesses and strengths in a team and create a supportive environment to work on both, persuading employees to solve problems independently and to think for themselves.
A leader always looks for a way to improve the team, offering training courses and opportunities for each member to develop, rather than keeping them in a particular role because they’re good at it. If a member of the team stumbles across a roadblock or a problem, and goes to their manager for a solution, a leader will help the employee devise one, asking for thoughts, suggestions and ideas.
It’s normal for mistakes to be made in business, but it’s how you deal with them that defines if you are a boss or a leader. Nobody wants to work for a manager that places blame directly on employees when things go wrong, instead they want an approachable boss that can help solve problems. A leader shares the blame and takes a proportion of responsibility for the team’s actions.
Typically, a boss micromanages and criticises every mistake. This clear lack of trust doesn’t allow an employee to do their job efficiently or with confidence. However, a true leader will trust their team to do their job well, while encouraging them to have ideas and providing positive feedback. A leader knows when they’re needed and when they’re not.
A leader will take the time to listen to their team members, getting to know them and the way they work so they can focus on what the team needs in order to succeed. They will be aware of workplace tensions and try to resolve them rather than ignoring issues and continuing to demand results.
Good communication in the workplace helps build team success and provide the vital function of maintaining a steady flow of information between a company’s leadership and its workforce. Leaders know that through regular, clear communications, employees feel valued, connected and engaged. Leaders also know that communication must not just be a top-down exercise; the best employee communications programmes are those that enable a two-way exchange of information, opinions and ideas relating to the examples above.
As a leader it is your responsibility to help your team succeed.