The Best Traits That Separate a Leader From a Boss

October 17, 2018 Linkage Interns
The Best Traits That Separate a Leader From a Boss

Taking the lead is never easy, especially with the immense responsibilities that come along with it. There is often confusion on the difference between a boss and a leader, mostly because they’re one and the same at work. We often associate bosses to be harsh and difficult to please, but that is because for years it has been ingrained in the workplace culture that a boss has to be those things. But being “bossy” is not the same as being an effective leader.

The truth is that the workplace doesn’t have to reproduce a stressful and negative energy that makes everyone dread going to work and excited to leave. As VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, having empathy and kindness is the best way to go to pave a safe work environment for workers in order to unlock the potential in everyone in their respective fields. Expressing these traits doesn’t make one a weak boss. It makes them a good leader.

Good Leaders Depend on Their Team

“If you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself,” is a common misconception. Leaders should value team harmony above fulfilling expectations.

Teams that have leaders take most of the tasks or designate too much to meet expectations will fall apart quickly because of the lack of coordination. Trusting every one of your subordinates gives them the freedom to do their assigned tasks to their fullest capabilities. It’s the only way they would be able to assess where they are and help them improve. Empower them to take the initiative and make their own decisions. The reality is some will win and some will lose. But success doesn’t happen overnight. That is where leaders step in with a mentoring attitude to give constructive advice and help stitch up the weak areas.

Good leaders understand their team

Leaders don’t see their employees as machines. They see them as they are. This is the importance of having kindness and empathy in the workplace. Conversations make all the difference in the workplace. It paints a human face of you as their boss and it also helps you figure out what drives your employees. It also builds a culture of safety around the office. Letting employees speak freely and express themselves however they want to make them feel part of the team. Everyone has great ideas, and by allowing them to express them, you build team harmony. Who knows, you may actually find one idea that could efficiently solve certain problems.

Good leaders have high self-esteem and low egos

There is a difference between confidence and pride, but there is a really fine line that separates them. If success was a race, this is how the attitudes differ in context—self-esteem is having the confidence that you will cross that finish line and win while ego is believing you’d win even before signing up. Bosses have egos, only wanting to hire “the best for the team,” which roughly translates to the person who closely resembles their traits. If this is the attitude that you display, you’re never going to find someone “good enough” for a goal that is simply hard to reach. Leaders have self-esteem, which makes them confident in their decisions. A leader can’t be insecure and unsure. A good leader runs on positive vibes and trust. If you were to look for people on your team, take someone you know has the ability to grow with your team and contribute to its productivity.

It’s time to break that “grumpy boss” stigma in order to create a working environment that prompts productivity and conducive learning from one another. Building this culture around the office will definitely take time to grow into, but it’s a long-time investment worth giving a shot. And it all starts from the top.

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