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Boss vs Leader: Improve Your Leadership Style

Boss vs Leader
If you follow us on LinkedIn, you might know that we're big fans of Simon Sinek's quote, "A boss has the title, a leader has the people."

You might have seen people contrasting a boss vs a leader and what each one constitutes. 

Let's explore the differences. Along the way, we'll discuss ways to strengthen your leadership style.

Boss vs leader

Every organisation has people responsible for a team, from supervisors to line managers and top-level management. 

Although their duties vary, they all have the same fundamental role: to lead people to success.

But being a leader and being a boss is not the same thing. 

A boss is someone who is in charge of a team. 

A leader is someone who has the team's respect and inspires them to action. 

'Leader' is more of a personality trait than a title. You might view someone as a leader even if they don't have the title of 'boss' or 'manager'.

How to be a good leader (vs a good boss) 

If you'd like to be a good leader and not just a boss, here are some traits to improve

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence has nothing to do with your IQ. Rather, it's your ability to understand your emotions and others' around you. 

For example, someone with weak emotional intelligence might be unable to identify the root cause of an employee's sudden poor performance. In contrast, a leader with strong emotional intelligence could use communication and active listening skills to discuss underlying issues and help the employee address them. 

90% of top performers have a high level of emotional intelligence.

Servant leadership 

Servant leadership is the philosophy that a leader finds success by serving their team members (rather than the other way around). 

By serving team members, we mean providing them with the resources and support they need to perform well in their roles and to develop the skills they need. 

Studies have found that companies with servant leadership styles have much more productive, engaged and motivated employees.

Virtual leadership 

In the UK, 40% of the workforce now works remotely at least once a week. The change in working style demands a change in leadership style too. 

Virtual leaders - those working with either fully remote or hybrid teams - must foster a positive and inclusive culture where everyone is empowered to do their job well. 

Leaders can do this by establishing clear communication practices, ensuring that the team feels empowered to maintain a work-life balance, and frequently setting small achievable goals. This will help everyone in the team to feel supported and accountable.

Final thoughts 

So, boss vs leader - which one are you?

If, after reading this, you're concerned you're more of a boss than a leader, don't worry! Like many other soft and hard skills, leadership skills can be learned. 

If you already have strong leadership skills, which areas could you improve? What will you work on next?

Next steps 

Are you looking for strong leaders to join your team? Eden Scott has an established network of talented senior candidates. Find out what it's like to hire with us, or get in touch for support. 

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