“Bossy Pants” or “Inspiring Leader.” Which title would you rather be pegged? Effective managers ensure that not only the team as a whole but individuals are motivated to grow and put their best foot forward to feel rewarded and produce quality work. “Bosses” tend to separate themselves from their teams and focus on their own success.
Here are six tips on how to be a leader and not a boss:
- Get in the Weeds
One difference between being a leader and being a boss is that leaders are daily, active collaborators. They are active and in the weeds, playing alongside their team members on a daily basis. They know, recognize, and live the daily struggles that the team members themselves experience. Bosses give orders and wait for the results. Be ready and willing to do the same tasks you delegate to your team, and to share your ideas as well. Solid teamwork produces solid results, even more so when done amiably.
- Trust Your Employees
No one wants to be micromanaged. You hired your employees for their skills and expertise, so trust that they know what they’re doing and that they will produce quality work. Check in with them as needed, and don’t constantly look over their shoulders, but acknowledge their effort daily.
- Listen and Engage with Your Team
Listening and engaging with your team goes back to being an active team member. Great leaders are ready to listen, advise, and engage in discussion with their team.
- Affirm, Affirm, Affirm
Nothing ruins morale than always hearing what you’ve done wrong. Take time to show your appreciation for a job well done. Point out what you like in particular about the work, and you’re more likely to see a repeat performance.
Positive reinforcement can go a long way. At the same time, though, in the interest of helping your team grow professionally, offer constructive criticism, and be ready to address the employees’ concerns about your critiques.
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Yes, you’re the leader of the team, and you are ultimately responsible for the final product, but when you’re presenting the final piece to your superiors or clients, give a hat tip to the person or people directly responsible for making it happen. Doing so will show to your team members that you value their work and are appreciative of the effort they have given to produce a fantastic final product.
- Keep Employees in the Loop
When employees are privy to what’s going on behind the scenes at the company, they are more likely to feel involved and feel that they are contributing to helping the company achieve its larger goals. Let them in on the company’s goals, regularly reiterate company values and its mission statement, and discuss with them the company’s challenges and opportunities and how their work will help the bigger picture.
Being a leader is just that, you are leading your team to do its best. A big part of that is being an active team member. Bosses say “I” more than “we,” which doesn’t help motivation or morale. Bosses are more interested in seeing themselves succeed, and leaders inspire and encourage their team members to grow.
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