While all true leaders are fit to be bosses, not all bosses are fit to be leaders. In our career goals, we often envision a scenario in which we have reached the highest peak of professional success, and sit atop our respective industry’s leadership totem pole. However, while it’s easy to envision oneself at the lead of a team or business, not very many people understand what it means to be a leader rather than a boss.
Regardless of what the world may have you think, being a boss is easy. Ordering others around while you reap the benefits is doable if placed in a position of leadership. The true hardship comes with being a true leader.
True leaders are in the trenches with their team, side-by-side in pushing new business plans and reaching new goals. The saying “lead by example” is not just a cliché adage, it’s an accurate statement. As a leader, watch the productivity of your team raise as you begin to work harder than any other individual in your team. The standard for success will only be set as high as you choose to place it as a result of the quality of your own work and actions.
Another important characteristic of a true leader is the ability to remain humble. Never be too big for your team. If a co-worker is struggling with a project, perhaps you can explain certain concepts in a clearer manner to them. Let them know that it’s okay to struggle, as you too have been in similar situations. Lead with confidence, but never let your ego suppress your ability to be a genuine and caring leader.
Throughout our careers, we will all face two kinds of superiors: bosses and leaders. Take from the good examples, and learn from the not so good. You have the power to be the most effective leader your fellow team members have ever had the privilege to work with if you can wholly grasp the difference between being a leader and a boss.
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