A boss dominates.
A leader influences.
Within these simple statements lies a lifetime of hard-won experience. My own journey is summed up well by Harry Gordon Selfridge, an American retail tycoon who founded the London-based department store bearing his name.
“The boss drives people; the leader coaches them.”
A boss herds people from the rear, driving them like cattle through harsh lands. A leader pulls from the front with the guiding hand of possibility.
“The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will.”
A boss commands from on high with little regard for others. A leader invests in others, thereby raising them up.
“The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.”
For a boss, the crack of the whip is an effective motivator. For a leader, the example of action precedes both words and accountability.
“The boss says I; The leader says WE.”
A boss exults in victory while standing on the backs of others. A leader exults others while remaining largely hidden in support beneath them.
“The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.”
A boss seeks blame while deflecting responsibility. A leader accepts responsibility while seeking the root cause separate from any individual.
“The boss says GO; the leader says Let’s GO!”
A boss barks from the rear with sword sheathed for others to charge. A leader inspires with sword raised from the front for others to follow.
Choose to be a leader.
🤔 Food for Thought:
How did you feel when managed by a boss?
How did you feel when managed by a leader?
Which one is best for the team and the individual? Why?
⚙️ One Small Step:
Those you lead are watching closely. It is not the words you issue but the actions you take and tolerate that really matter. The word “leader” is rooted in the Old English word “lædan” meaning “to go before as a guide.” So let your actions be a guide to those you lead. Then help them do the same.