Leader vs. Boss…

As a business owner, you have to wear many hats. You play the bookkeeper, maintenance person, employee, on top of being boss. We know how we want things done. As I discussed in the post “The Making of a Happy Workplace”, I touched on this. Allow me to pick this apart a bit more.

Being a boss means setting the precedent to guidelines of how we want our businesses to look. People are going to look to you for guidance and instruction. They’ll ask lots of questions. They’ll follow your example. As children, the majority of what we learned from our parents was watching them and not listening to them. It’s no different with employees and employers. Asking people to do things we’re not willing or able to do is unfair and unrealistic. If you want productive people, lead them. Don’t pull them.

The same holds true if you have a manager running your office. If you are putting someone in a position of “power” that cannot relate to the people working for you, you’re swimming against the tide. Leaders need to have knowledge and the qualifications of the jobs of those they’re looking to lead. If you (or your manager) have not been through the ups and downs your staff is going through, you cannot effectively guide someone to overcome a hurdle. Experience is a priceless quality in a leader; the successes and the failures. Remembering what it was like as an employee is recommended and necessary. Without the aforementioned, leaders only look like hypocrites and will not be respected.

None of this advice implies that you aren’t going to need to be the “heavy” at times. There’s definitely a balance to strike. Be realistic in your expectations of those you’re leading. No two people are alike. They will not do things the same way. Life and work would be boring if they were. Allow your people to build on their strengths and share ideas with their peers and you. Sharing ideas and experience will only make us all better.

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