There’s a common misconception that to succeed in business, you need to become the best “boss” you can be. Most people interpret this as “I need to be more aggressive in my leadership style.” In reality, however, it’s almost the reverse that is true.
To put it another way, the chasm between a “boss” and a “leader” is a deep one, indeed. Understanding the qualities that make up the latter will go a long way toward making sure you never become one of the former.
Leaders Don’t Bark Orders. Leaders Lead
To understand the difference between a boss and a true leader, consider the following statistics:
- According to one recent study, 58% of people say that they trust a total stranger more than they do their own boss.
- A large part of that probably has to do with the fact that, according to another study from CareerBuilder.com, as many as 58% of managers say that they haven’t received any management training to speak of.
- Employees who have an adverse relationship with their leadership are far more likely to be disengaged at work. It’s important to note, then, that disengaged employees cost organizations in the United States a collective $450 to $550 billion every single year.
- All of this culminates in perhaps the most damning statistic of all: While 89% of bosses believe that people quit a job to go elsewhere for more money, that’s only true about 12% of the time.
That last statistic is particularly harrowing, because it illustrates the disconnect that often exists between business leaders and the people working “beneath them.” It’s also resoundingly bad news for the “leaders” of Corporate America, because it means that people aren’t actually quitting their jobs for more lucrative positions elsewhere.
They’re quitting their bosses.
If nothing else, hopefully statistics like these shatter the myth that a boss is always “the loudest person in the room” once and for all. Because even if that were the case at some point, it certainly isn’t today.
People aren’t going to follow you simply because their paycheck depends on it or because yours is the name on the door. They have to want to. To get there, you’ve got to do more than just delegate responsibility.
You have to inspire them.
So much of this ultimately comes down to the age-old idea of “leading by example.” If you want people to give their all to a project and work long hours, then you need to be the first person to arrive in the morning and the last person to leave at night. Never ask someone to do something you’d be unwilling to do yourself. Show people what an ideal employee looks like by becoming one yourself.
At that point, you won’t have to worry about whether people are going to line up behind you and give everything to bring your larger vision for your business to life…
… because they won’t be able to help themselves.