The word “boss” conjures up an idea that with this title, every manager can now magically get employees to do whatever they need. The simple image is that when they tell someone to do something, they immediately go do it. This may work in the movies, but unfortunately in a small business, this is far from the truth. Employees these days are far too independent and a company’s workforce is typically too geographically dispersed for this to be effective.
In fact, being “bossy” as a small business owner only adds to the weight of managing people by trying to control them. It separates out a group of people trying to work together for a single goal and creates distance when collaboration is sorely needed. It ultimately sets up an external system based only on penalties and rewards. This very old management style is proving to be less valuable over time. Although every successful organization has formal hierarchies, they are more effective when they do not have to be rigidly enforced. If a manager has to tell an employee that they need to do a certain task and then constantly checks to see if it was done, the organization will never be successful. Furthermore, if the manager has to threaten the employee to complete a task, then that employee is not a valuable addition to the team.
Being a leader is about engaging employees and fostering their loyalty. Great leaders do not use threats and traditional control tactics, but take actions that yield commitment and loyalty. It is ineffective to try to keep track of what every employee is doing. In fact, this puts the burden of getting the job done on the boss rather than the employee. Great leaders are able to motivate their employees to work hard by getting them to believe in the mutual benefits of a common goal. They set an example as someone willing to work along side of an employee, rather than traditionally working from far above them.
Which are you: a boss or a leader?