There’s a difference between being a boss and a leader. Which one are you?
Webster’s definitions of a boss include: A person who exercises control over others and makes decisions, usually the person of highest rank or authority, a supervisor, a person who commands in a domineering manner.
In contrast the definitions for a leader include: A person who rules, guides, inspires, escorts, directs, influences, persuades, and is out and ahead of or at the head of others. They have influence, power, and commanding authority over those they lead. They tend toward a certain goal or result, are in the foremost position, and usually “pull” people toward what becomes a common vision. People usually follow a leader because they want to rather than have to.
Influential leaders, who lead with great ethics, whether they are Presidents, Kings, corporate CEOs, Girl Guide or Scout leaders, bear some traits in common. They are passionate about what they do and what they believe in; they are visionaries, can see the “big picture,” and are driven inside to draw people into what they believe – to jump on the train with them.
A boss in a grocery store sees shelves that need to be stocked, employees that need to be scheduled, doors that need fixed, floors that need to be cleaned, and the year-end staff social that needs to be planned. They work toward these ends, seeing them to fulfillment, sometimes in very creative ways.
A leader in a grocery store sees those things too, but he or she also feels excitement about being in business, or about making profit from people’s need for food and daily household products and how that profit can be poured back into the store to make it superior over other grocery stores. They care about and inspire, their staff, realizing that they are the front line ambassadors of the store. They not only see where the store is at now, but they also envision what it will look like or how it will impact their community ten years from now. Whether they actually own the store or not, they make the store their own.
With a good leader, people usually feel drawn, or “pulled”, into the same vision. Have you ever gone into a store or restaurant and been treated so well by the staff there that you just knew that you would return again? Not only did you just receive knock-your-socks-off customer service, but you also met employees empowered by the vision of a true leader.
A leader usually develops and motivates leaders under them. People who get “fired-up” and captivated by the vision and rise to the occasion.
For leaders, leadership is a way of life. If there’s leadership spontaneously required at a gathering, leaders will step up to bat, even if it’s just to open a door as people arrive.
Can a boss be a leader? Definitely.
The question is: Which one are you? Or rather, maybe the question should be: Which one would you like to be?