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Leaders create leaders – Bosses just boss!

If you’re contemplating shifting your career up a gear in 2019 this might mean clearly demonstrating your skills as a leader in your workplace. Or perhaps you have just joined the ranks of team manager and you’re using the new year to hone your skills and perfect your technique. Where do you start finding out about managing people well and what’s important when it comes to taking care of delivery in the workplace?

A great starting point is making sure you have a clear understanding of the difference between being a workplace boss and being a workplace leader. Every organisation or team will have times when they need bosses and times when they need leaders, but don’t make the mistake of assuming they are one and the same thing.

The old saying that leaders create other great leaders is very true. Leaders aren’t generally the loudest person in the room, and they’re certainly not the ones taking the glory. Leaders take their satisfaction from watching others develop their skills and from building a highly functional organisation that delivers well.

Both bosses and leaders help to create and build organisational culture, but that culture will be quite different depending on whether an organisation values a “leadership approach” or the more traditional and easier to achieve “boss style” of management. So, are there any core behaviours that help define the difference between leader and boss?

A starting point on the journey can be achieved through a simple analysis of the words boss and leader. Bosses do just that! They boss – they tell people what to do, how to do it and when, leaving no room for staff creativity and innovation. When things aren’t delivered in the way they want, they apportion blame. This creates a culture of dependency and fear and stifles a culture of improvement. A “boss” style of management can be useful in organisations where there is no room for individuality or personal decision making, but it’s a rare workplace that cultivates this type of situation.

Leaders on the other hand listen, learn, seek solutions and generously share their knowledge with team members. Their satisfaction comes from seeing the team thrive rather than from achieving personal glory and acknowledgement. They are also not afraid to stand up and take their share of responsibility when things don’t go according to plan. This kind of environment frees up team members to explore new ways to deliver and achieve results. The outcomes for a team when there is a genuine leader at the helm can be quite spectacular both for the organisation and the individuals that make up the team.

A core point to remember is that leaders may not be the person appointed to be in charge, they quite often assume the role because of the skills they have developed.  As these skills become recognised within the work environment those people are often selected to take on future management roles.  By gaining a greater understanding of these concepts and techniques you can subtly position yourself to take on greater workplace responsibility. If you are keen to formalise this understanding and learning, a great place to start is with the TANZ eCampus Diploma in Business (Leadership and Management). You can use the flexible learning environment to increase your knowledge and skill base.

Want to learn more about leadership skills in this blog? Check out this blog.