There is a fundamental difference that renders the role of “boss” less desirable than that of “leader,” let’s face it. For the “boss”, the glamor of leadership must be replaced by the blunt need for authoritarianism. Or, is there another way? Can the role of leader and boss be combined to ensure that company vision and motivation are sustained while policies are respected, and rules followed?
Alan Hall, founder of Grow America and contributor at Forbes, outlines three essential elements that successful leadership should reflect. These elements have an overarching goal which is to show respect for others, especially employees, and to gain respect in return.
- Listening and communicating. A leader realizes the importance of providing information to employees to ensure they are onboard with and support corporate decisions. Achieving this requires transparency, requesting and paying attention to feedback, and acting on staff opinion. One-way communication is talking at people, not communicating with them. Social media platforms can assist with posting information, collecting real-time feedback, and enabling cross functional and team communication.
- Valuing diversity. A leader values diversity. Recruiting a diverse team and valuing individual contributions sets a tone of acceptance, tolerance, and appreciation for different ways of working. A leader realizes the limits of his or her own perspectives and experiences and looks to learn from those of others.
- Supporting employees. A leader will support employee efforts not micromanage or dictate them. Hall states that leaders let their workers find the best way to do things and support them in doing so. Similarly, employee feedback can reveal a need for support in other areas such as flexible schedules to help with childcare or aging parent care, a desire for training or professional development. Employees must feel a sense of control in their lives, or they will leave an organization.
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