Be a leader not a boss…

As a young man, I started working in the hospitality industry right after college where there were two managers, one during the day, and another in the evening. One was liked and respected by every employee. She was a true leader in the sense that people wanted to please her and follow her. The other manager was despised by many. If she told an employee to do something, they often did it grudgingly and half-heartedly. She was the boss so they did what she said, but never gave the level of effort and loyalty afforded to the other manager. I’ve often wondered why. What caused one manager to be respected and followed, where the other was despised, ridiculed, and occasionally sabotaged by her employees? One was a true leader, the other, just a boss.

What is the difference? As I’ve watched people in leadership positions over the years, I’m convinced that it’s not just a matter of personality or charisma. The difference between a boss and a leader boils down to the person’s attitude & upbringing.
A boss relies on the authority of the position to command obedience. He or she is in charge and knows it. Bosses typically think they are smarter, better, and more qualified than anyone else, simply because of their position as a manager or supervisor. They mistakenly assume that they have all the answers and those who are subordinate to them know nothing. Bosses ask employees to do things that they themselves would never do (they are too good or important). It’s an attitude of superiority, entitlement, and fake power.

A leader, on the other hand, earns the respect of those he or she works with. Leaders feel that each employee is a valuble asset of the team and that the leader’s role is to provide vision and then set the example by being a model contributor toward that vision. The leader never asks an employee to do something he or she would not be willing to do under similar circumstances. Leaders value the input of employees from every level and help all employees “buy in” to the company’s mission and direction. When employees understand the significance of their contribution to the company’s vision, and observe the leader’s commitment to help the team achieve these goals, they willingly and instinctively follow the leader. The leader’s attitude is one of mutual respect, teamwork, and vision.

As I got older, I realized Leadership starts with a genuine smile and gracious hello to every employee you see or talk to, getting to know them as individuals, getting to learn about their hopes and dreams is the key to their respect. As a leader you have to care for your team, inspire them and show them the way. The leader needs to believe that titles doesn’t make a person, but the positive attitude and good behavior defines him or her and at the end of the day, our life is a short journey.

Don’t be a Boss, don’t abuse your power. Be a leader, be a source of inspiration, be kind.

Source:, 12 June 2014
By: Raidh Benameur

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