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Are you a boss or a leader?

I hate the term boss. Whenever someone refers to me as their boss I almost feel like I’m doing something wrong as a leader. I want to ask forgiveness for making me think I’m the boss.

There are so many differences in a boss and a leader.

A boss seems to have all the answers, even if they really don’t.
A leader solicits input, leads a collaborative effort, to arrive at the right answer.

A boss tells people what to do.
A leader enlists the support of others.

A boss can be intimidating – if only by title.
A leader may challenge people, but should be encouraging – even during correction.

A boss dictates their own way.
A leader delegates the way to others.

A boss demands results.
A leader inspires others to succeed.

A boss controls through systems and processes.
A leader spurs ideas, creativity, and ingenuity.

A boss manages closely guarded policies.
A leader enables change, adapting policies as needed.

There is only one boss in any organization.
The best organizations have many leaders.

People follow a leader willingly. You have to pay someone to follow a boss.

In fairness, there are times even the best leaders have to be the boss. Even the “bad guy” boss – at least in other people’s perception. Being a leader doesn’t mean you allow poor quality of work to prevail. There are times a leader has to micromanage. We need good systems and processes.

But, whenever possible, I much prefer to be a leader.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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