How important is leadership exactly? It’s instrumental in the development of any brand or company. According to a survey by Brandon Hall Group, 71% of all employees have stated that their leaders are unfit to lead their organizations into the future.
A big factor in this dire state of affairs is that many leaders act like bosses, instead of leaders and mentors.
What makes a leader different from a boss? How can you tell? We’ve decided to cover some key traits of inspiring leaders and why are they important.
- A leader isn’t afraid to learn
In a lot of workplaces, employees have a fear of their management. The fear creeps in because most management members don’t have the goal of improving the company. Instead, all they care about is seeming omniscient and invulnerable.
Leaders, on the other hand, see every moment as an opportunity to learn. They willingly admit that they don’t know something and actively seek information that can help them.
A true leader seeks every possible source to better his leadership capabilities and improve his organization. It’s all that matters.
- Leaders care about their employees even when they don’t work together
People who deem themselves bosses view people as expendable. They are only nice to their subordinates when they need something or when they are obliged to do so.
When they stop cooperating with their employees, it’s like they never met. Bosses don’t care and don’t think about what their former employees are doing.
ResumesPlanet, a writing and proofreading service, has recently introduced a new way of grooming their employees. They openly allow them to pick the number of hours they want to work and offer flexible business contracts. A flexible work environment fosters a healthy relationship between leaders and employees.
- They know how to listen
The problem with most bosses is that they feel entitled. In their minds, the position they hold gives them the right to order other people what to do. They refuse to listen to other people’s advice and see any comment or correction as an insult to their ego. Leaders are much different.
Instead of admonishing their subordinates for speaking up, they encourage them. A true leader knows how important it is to have a voice and use it.
- Leaders never see people as “finished projects”
What makes bosses so detrimental to any organization is their unwillingness to train their employees. When they see that an individual has flaws, they immediately discard them and stop caring about them. Instead of helping them improve and be better experts, bosses seek people who are finished products to ensure quick success.
Leaders never do this. They are never afraid or hesitant to take the time needed to explain things. Viewing people as ever-evolving and capable of everything, leaders inspire instead of looking for new employees.
Encouraging other people is a skill only true leaders have. Bosses don’t have it, so they try to compensate with using fear as motivation. Without the capability to encourage, they threaten and strike fear into their employees. True leaders do something that’s a lot different.
Instead of admonishing and punishing subordinates for their failures, they talk. Leaders always take the time to speak to their associates and ask them what’s wrong. They believe in people and their natural gifts, encouraging them to disregard failure and try again. True leaders instill courage and determination into the hearts of their employees.
- They are vulnerable and aren’t afraid to show it
The thing that sets apart bosses from leaders is their approach to other people. Bosses try to create a perfect image of themselves. Instead of succeeding, they only show their weaknesses and react angrily or defensively when someone points that out. Insecure bosses deteriorate the entire atmosphere in an organization and slow down progress.
Leaders want people to know that they aren’t that much different. Instead of hiding their weaknesses, they want to show them to set an example. When employees see that their leader is just like them, they will feel free. When you realize that only 30% of employees are engaged, setting such an example is paramount.
- Leaders never put themselves above others
Bosses always deem themselves to be above everyone else. They are never hesitant to remind people of that and use it as fuel for their ego. Such individuals tend to think of their position as a privilege and an excuse to behave improperly. This constant reminding that they are “the boss” causes entire organizations to stagnate.
Leaders view themselves as a part of the team. When you ask a leader about their position, they merely say that they are the coordinator. As a metaphorical connective tissue, leaders fuse different parts of the organization and make them work together.
- They take responsibility
When a boss is present in a workplace, they demand results. Instead of making plans and cooperating with their subordinates, they view them as tools to do their bidding.
If something goes wrong, they are unprepared and resort to blaming people around them. By striking fear into their employees, bosses have a negative impact on overall productivity in the workplace.
With leaders, it’s an entirely different story. Unafraid to take the blame, they would rather inspire others around them than seem perfect to upper management. When employees see that a leader protects them, they will do much more and respect him immensely.
The key point where leaders and bosses differ is how they view people. Leaders inspire, want to listen and learn something new. They know that accomplishing a goal needs an entire team and this results in an inspiring presence. Be honest, motivating and hard-working. With these characteristics, all of your employees will love and respect you.
About the author
Jennifer Sanders is a senior writer and editor from London. When she is away from her computer, she loves to be in different sports, listen to music, and spend time with her two dogs and a cat. She works as a freelancer and is currently associated with UK CareersBooster and Careers Booster. If you wish to connect with her, find her on Twitter and Facebook.