Choosing to be a boss or a leader

Everyone has a boss but is that boss also a leader or merely a boss? What is the difference and why does it matter? The titles give you a clue. Bosses “boss’: they often simply tell their employees what they want. They direct. But some bosses are also leaders—they set high standard and they lead by their example. They encourage you to be your best, and if you have ever worked for someone who is a leader, you are indeed fortunate.

Recently, Jeff Mulligan, the mayor of Lloydminster, presented information on what employers want and later sent me information on leadership. The information is from Dr. John Maxwell. He shares a story about former NFL coach, Tony Dungy, who now regularly gives talks to inmates.

He asks: “Why would Tony Dungy turn down a $5 million per year coaching salary to chat with gatherings of criminals? For him it’s simple: he believes in the power of encouragement. He knows how important it is for people to have a leader who is cheering them on, supplying hope and courage during trying times.”

Tony Dungy says there are five qualities that define such a leader. He describes the five Ws this way:

Watchfulness: Tony says “encouragement carries more weight when it is specific”. He suggests being observant and praising specific behaviors.

Words: Who doesn’t enjoy praise, and it is especially powerful in public. Tony says “your words of encouragement will reinforce good behavior and communicate value and appreciation to those you lead.”

Writing: verbal praise and encouragement mean a lot, but put it in writing and it takes it to the next level! Who doesn’t save special cards or notes, read them, and feel good all over again?

Wallet: nothing talks like money! And it doesn’t have to be large—something that is appreciated by the recipient—perhaps a small keepsake or time off. “Be intentional about giving something of value as a means of applauding those who are doing a great job,” he says.

Winning: set an example. “People draw strength from watching you persevere through adversity, and they are impacted when they see you make sacrifices to advance your vision. When you win by doing things the right way, your victories leave an impression on the spectators watching you.”

Finally, Tony comments that “a good leader gets people to follow him because they want to, not because he makes them.” So, would you rather be a leader or just merely a boss? Your choice can change your life and your business.