leader versus boss

Be a Leader! Not just a boss!

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I have had many bosses in my career, and very few leaders. Management is hard! I won’t beat around the bush, it is a difficult job! But, if you really want to be successful in your career, you need to be a leader! If you are a leader, you motivate your team to go above and beyond! Leaders create loyalty to the mission or task at hand! Leaders careers advance because they are able to help their employees careers take off! Being a leader requires dedication, time and patience. But, how can you tell the difference? Why are they that important?  Here is a great article by Elite Daily that shows some of the differences between a leader and a boss here. 

Be a Team Player

Yes, these are your employees. However, if you want them to help you reach your goals, you must be a team player. Your are all in this together, whether you are in the trenches or celebrating a victory. The victory is a team effort. A boss who leads his or her employees through the trenches is one that will receive loyalty and respect. A boss with loyal employees gets more accomplished, and looks better in front of his or her boss 🙂

What happens far to often…

Particularly in retail, some managers will work 20 hour weeks, and get paid for 40. They will pass unpleasant work onto their employees simply because ‘they can’. Some will make you deal with bad customers ‘to train you’ but when the customer is irate at the manager, it doesn’t resolve anything. I’ve had 4 bosses like this. My favorite was a past manager of mine who would lie to his manager. He would tell his boss he was working one open and one close per week. My boss would show up right before closing time, stay for 5 minutes and leave. If he was scheduled for an opening shift, he would arrive at 9:30AM, the store opened at 6:00AM. Said boss was on – time once, but he was so hungover he went to the back room and slept. This is why people quit bosses.

 

Motivation

A good leader must be a good motivator! Not simply a task manager. A good motivator will make you want to do the job at hand! and go above and beyond with it!

I was at my local grocery store a few weeks back. I was checking out, and on the wall near the break room was the stats for the store compared to the others stores in that company. Most of the stats were charts and graphs, a few good jobs from the manager. However, one comment from the manager stuck out, it said “team ### try harder please”. It was the inspiration for this article.

Fear tactics don’t work!

This manager from the grocery store, was attempting to ‘motivate’ his or her team, by publicly shaming them. “If you can just reach the company goals I won’t have to embarrass you again!” The manager felt that his or her employees would fear public shaming enough to do a better job! That does not work! It leads to high turnover. (Turnover is not always a bad thing, some hires are not good hires.) Turnover is very costly. The balance has a good article that shows more about what goes into turnover costs. The High Cost of High Employee Turnover

It makes you look bad

Public shaming makes not only the employees look bad, but it makes the manager look bad too! It makes him or her look like a dictator, not a member of the team. I was getting my oil changed and the manager came out and yelled at his employees. ‘If you want to keep your jobs you had better do x,y,and z.’ Would never want to work for someone like that? Didn’t think so 🙂 In addition, I also do not give my money to them now either.

What said manager could have done instead

The manager could have had a meeting with his or her employees in private. From there, management could then ask the employees why the numbers had dropped after doing so well. Then the manager could ask for input, how they think the team can get those numbers back up. Management could then ask what would motivate them to exceed the goals put in place by corporate. It could be a paid day off, free lunch whatever.

The boss from the oil change place could have a meeting in private with his employees. He could let them know what the expectations are from them, and how they can, as a team, help the branch succeed.

Listen to what motivates your employees

When I worked at big car company, they tried to motivate us with happy hours, and tickets to football games if we hit their sales goals. However, they forgot to ask one crucial question. Is that what would motivate their employees? Happy hour after work sounds great, except most of the employees wanted to go home after a 12 hour day. Everyone was dog tired and wanted their own time to do on their own thing. The forced happy hours did not motivate them to reach management’s goals. I knew a girl who won football tickets for her sales goals, there was just one problem, she wasn’t interested in football.

Listen to your employees input

I have worked with many managers that were very disconnected from their employees, and what they contributed to the workplace. You wanted to yell “Get out of your ivory tower and see for yourself what is going on!” Don’t just dictate what I need to be doing!  If you are disconnected with your employees and are unwilling to listen to what they are going through, you will not get very far.

My example

When I worked for big coffee company (many years ago, they have since made many changes) management would write you up if your shirt wasn’t tucked in, and your shoes weren’t all black. I understand the desire for uniformity, however did it really increase customer service? Did it really increase profits? Was is effective? The answer to all three was NO! It just upset staff because management was more concerned with small details of employees appearance, rather than the hard work they were putting into their job. The work they were doing were the things that actually made money. Management was nit picking rather than focusing on the positive contributions their employees brought.

On the plus side…

Since my time working at big coffee company many changes have taken place since their stock took a dive. They have since “cleaned house” with several of the managers who were not a good fit, and re-evaluated the uniform policy. The focus has been redirected from small details about staff’s uniforms, to service and growth. This has been positive for them. It was a much needed change. It is my understanding that employee morale has increased as well.

For all you good leaders and bosses, keep doing what your doing! If you are working for a bad boss, I’m pullin’ for you on your job hunt. At the very least you can learn from their mistakes 🙂