“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
A Boss values titles, position, and hierarchy.
A Leader values results.
A Boss bargain hunts for fungible employees.
A Leader invests in skilled, talented team members who are not easily replaced, but possess an uncompromising ability to get results efficiently and effectively.
A Boss is the master of giving to-do lists.
A Leader is a master of sharing a vision, inspiring her team to emotionally align with and invest in that vision, so they can independently take appropriate actions.
A Boss views her team as “underlings,” referring to “me” and “them.”
A Leader views her team as an integral part of her company and vision, referring to “us” and “we.”
A Boss expects her team members to respect the robustness of her life — family time, rest time, recreation — but views her team members only in relation to the hours they work.
A Leader acknowledges and respects the robustness of team members’ lives too — she encourages all members of the company to have time for family, rest, and recreation, because she knows that results not only in an improved quality of life, but also increased productivity, loyalty, and effectiveness.
A Boss believes the agreed-upon compensation is the only appreciation she needs to demonstrate to her team.
A Leader demonstrates appreciation in a variety of ways: verbal gratitude, monetary bonuses, lifestyle enhancements, positive experiences, increased autonomy. (For more on this, see Chip Conley’s book, Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow.)
A Boss sees disagreement as a threat and seeks to quash it outright.
A Leader sees constructive disagreement as an invaluable means of seeing beyond her own perspective, seizing otherwise unnoticed opportunities, and making fully informed decisions.
A Boss claims credit for success and distributes blame for mistakes.
A Leader openly shares successes and criticizes only constructively, with an eye to the future, and only in private.
A Boss’s main line of communication is the To-Do list.
A Leader regularly engages her team in dialogue, knowing they have a perspective of the company, its customers and its resources that is unavailable to her, and their input strengthens her ability to lead.
A Boss demands loyalty and obedience.
A Leader earns loyalty and inspires a unified culture of jointly working toward shared goals and visions.
A Boss views her team members as line item expenses which must be minimized.
A Leader values her team members as long-term, appreciating assets, which contribute to the success and profitability of the company.
A Boss builds a team to work for her and to act on her instructions.
A Leader builds a team to work with her, for a common goal, and to act on their best judgments to accomplish that goal.
A Boss calendars the date of each team member’s most recent evaluation and tracks their errors.
A Leader calendars each team member’s birthday and tracks their successes and milestones.
A Boss can be heard to remark that her team members are “lucky to work for [her].”
A Leader believes an effective team is necessary and invaluable, and is fortuitous on both sides of the desk.
A Boss asks, “What did you do wrong?!”
A Leader asks, “How can we best fix this, and ensure it doesn’t recur?”
A Boss’s main focus is on finding a team member who will do the job for the lowest possible rate.
A Leader’s main focus is on finding a team member who will yield the best results and greatest value for the company.
A Boss demands accountability from her team.
A Leader fosters accountability in all directions: the team to her, the team members to one another, her to her team, and the company to its customers.
A Boss seeks to identify the individual associated with a mistake so she can be reprimanded.
A Leader seeks to identify the aspects of the situation associated with a mistake so they can be resolved.
A Boss builds a team because she has “more important things to do.”
A Leader builds a team in order to multiply her effectiveness in accomplishing her goals and making real her vision.
A Boss fosters competitiveness among her team members.
A Leader fosters cooperation and mutual support among her team members.
A Boss believes her company lives and dies by strict adherence to its processes and procedures. Her credo is that as long as the processes are good, any ol’ team member will be sufficient to follow them.
A Leader believes her company is guided by its processes and procedures, but succeeds or fails based on the individual team member’s judgment, adaptability and on-the-spot problem solving necessary to best meet the company’s overall goals. Her credo is that solid processes are a vital foundation, but skillful team members are still the company’s lifeblood.
A Boss focuses on how her team can best serve her.
A Leader focuses on how she and her team can best serve their customers and fulfill the shared vision for the company.
From the moment a child learns the phrase, “Give me…” he becomes capable of being a boss. Being a boss is easy. Hire someone, tell him what to do, and voila — you’re a boss.
Being a leader requires more emotional maturity, trust in yourself and others, and dedication to progress over ego. Not all bosses achieve leadership.
Just the really successful ones.
Which are you?