It’s an important distinction. Just because you’re a boss doesn’t mean you’re an effective leader. And, just because you’re not a boss does not mean you’re not a leader. Bosses get things done, but they sometimes focus too much on the tactical. Effective leaders get important things done and done well. Their accomplishments continue to reap benefits in the long term and for a greater number of people.
Here are 5 questions you can use to gauge where you fall in the leader vs. boss balance:
- Do you focus more on whether individuals are hitting performance goals or on what big adjustment you can make next to unleash their full potential?
- Do you spend more time thinking about how to turn around employee-related problems, or on creating ways for your employees to take pride of ownership in what they produce?
- Do you spend more time critiquing what your employees are doing, or critiquing how you’re helping them?
- Do you pay attention to your employees’ aspirations only during their annual reviews, or do you attend to them throughout the year?
- Do you tell your employees what initiatives they should undertake or do you enlist their help in fleshing out what their roles should be considering your department’s strategic objectives?
Obviously, if you’re in a leadership position, you probably do a little of all of the above. But if most of your time and energy are spent on activities in the first half of each of those questions, then you are missing tremendous opportunities to make a difference with effective leadership. By seeing broad possibilities and appreciating the talent around you, you can help your organization
Dr. Fish is a consulting psychologist whose writing and work focus exclusively on helping individuals and teams lead more effectively. Her firm, Fish Executive Leadership Group, LLC, counts among its clients everything from Fortune 50 corporations to small, privately-held professional service firms.
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