Business Strategy Would Your Employees Call You a ‘Boss’ or a ‘Leader’? Let’s Hope It’s a Leader
Do you hold yourself to the same high standards that you hold your employees to? Leadership is defined on Wikipedia as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” Leadership is not always the person who’s ‘the boss’; it can be anyone who inspires others to work together and achieve goals.
But as a ‘boss’, sometimes we become so focused on our employees’ performance that we fail to see the big picture, which is our own performance.
After all, a team is only as effective as the person leading it. Of course employee performance is a huge part of being a manager, but how do we ensure our own success at the same time?
The answer is to stop looking at yourself as just a ‘boss’ and instead focus on the fact that you are a ‘leader’. People want to follow leaders; they don’t tend to take well to executing orders barked out by ‘the boss’, some guy who reclines in his big comfy chair, sitting and watching his minions scurry about. A leader doesn’t tell people what to do and then walk away, they get in the trenches, figure out what needs to get done, delegate, all while creating a team environment. Good leaders don’t play the blame game when something goes wrong. Instead they use their energy to find a solution to the problem, and involve their team in creating the solution.
Managers who have lost their way can be so out of touch with the day to day operations of their company that they forget what it’s like on the front line. When managers pay attention and their staff has what they need, the whole team can work as efficiently as possible. An example of this in real life could be as simple as listening. Many managers keep themselves aloof, away from the very people they’re responsible for, leaving their staff frustrated because they have no one to seek guidance from when an issue arises.
A true leader is always integrated with their team, and their employees know how to contact them if there’s a problem that is impeding the team’s workflow. When a client, for example, has a request that they’re not sure how to handle – this becomes an excellent learning opportunity for your staff. They may bring the issue to you the first time, but once you teach them the proper response to that inquiry, your team will feel empowered and know how to deal with similar issues when they come up again, making them more efficient. That’s being a true leader.
It’s human nature to become ‘static’, meaning becoming content with how things are being done, and not doing anything to improve. Small details, such as staying on top of a project to ensure it’s running smoothly, may no longer be a priority. By pulling away however, you and your business have now become reactive, as opposed to proactive. Instead of foreseeing a potential problem, you’re now dealing with it after it’s already happened. This will frustrate both you and your team, as well as impact your customers and revenue. Small changes, throughout the process, which are possible if you’ve integrated yourself as a true team leader, can often prevent negative feelings, wasted time and lost revenue.
Oftentimes managers can get so wrapped up in internal politics that we lose sight of what’s actually important to our company. We all have purpose, and as a leader one of your most important purposes is to stand up for your team. You’d be surprised how much harder your staff will work for you if they know you respect them. Your team will also be happier, which to your benefit, will translate to reduced turnover and higher job satisfaction.
5 Ways to Become a ‘Leader’ Instead of a ‘Boss’
This doesn’t mean drop all managerial duties and start doing your employees’ jobs for them. This means if your team needs help, then help! If they need guidance, then troubleshoot with them and find a solution that works for everyone. If they need specific supplies to get their job done, or if they have suggestions to improve processes, listen to what they have to say.
Get Your Hands Dirty
If Mike Holmes has no issues knocking down a wall, neither should you. A good rule to follow when delegating is to never ask an employee to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.
Don’t Give Into Politics
Pick your battles here. Stand up for your team, but leave the pettiness behind. Don’t let a temporary emotion make a permanent change. There is no harm in revisiting a topic once you’ve calmed down and gained some perspective. Your team will appreciate your level-headedness and calm guidance.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
We hear this a lot in life, but it works! Check in on ongoing projects. Talk to your employees. Ensure scheduled maintenance is done. Don’t wait for problems to come to you; instead spend that time learning how to prevent issues from happening in the first place.
Always look for ways to be a better leader, and for your team to learn and grow. You spend a lot of time managing your employees’ performance, but don’t forget about yours. Set goals for yourself for how you want to be seen as a leader, and achieve them. Also make sure you’re giving your team opportunities to learn new job duties or skills – this will keep them motivated and involved in your company’s success.
Being a leader is never easy, and if you think it’s easy you’re likely not the type of leader that people want to follow. Stay positive and always try to walk in other people’s shoes. Your employees and peers will thank you for it… even if they don’t say it out loud.
The time you invest in improving leadership, will have exponential results because great leadership inspires teamwork, and great teamwork increases profits. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on being a ‘leader’ instead of a ‘boss’.