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Company Leader or Boss? The Attributes of Effective Leadership

Effective LeadershipBy Bob McIntyre, Insperity

Although there are several business leadership styles, they typically fall into two basic categories:  Leaders and bosses. Leaders generate a vision and roadmap for their employees that support the company’s goals, while bosses generally consider themselves supervisors or people managers. Most human resources professionals agree that employees are more likely to gravitate toward, or be inspired by, leaders who focus on the big picture and allow their staff to identify and execute the best strategies for fulfilling that vision. 

How do managers determine whether or not they are simply a boss or a true leader? And what can they do to make the transition? Bob McIntyre, a director of service operations with Insperity, offers a few insights and tips.

Leaders trust their employees. Bosses tinker or micromanage.

Company leaders provide employees with the right tools to get the job done and trust them to deliver while providing regular updates on projects, or alerts to address problems as they arise.  This leadership style allows team members to flourish and grow. In comparison, bosses are often considered micromanagers. They might delve deeply into their employees’ workloads regularly or perform work themselves that should have been delegated to others. This form of management can lead to distrust and cripple worker motivation. 

Leaders give their teams credit. Bosses take the credit themselves.

Bosses often fail to identify the efforts of their teams or individual employees when a project is successfully completed. However, when there are issues or blunders, others are to blame. True leaders recognize that while they are ultimately responsible for successes and failures, most projects are a team effort and the individuals behind a major accomplishment deserve recognition. In addition to earning trust and respect, highlighting the success of others will help managers in their efforts to retain top talent.  

Leaders create a constructive learning environment. Bosses are reactive when providing feedback.

Leaders offer constructive advice to team members when mistakes are made. They also help employees build problem-solving skills to aid them later in their careers.  They offer possible solutions to a problem, tackling the issues together with workers. Leaders offer this input in a private setting to help prevent employee embarrassment and frustration, which can impede learning. Bosses tend to worry less about feelings and react hastily to staff members when mistakes are made.

 Leaders listen to understand. Bosses listen to reply.

Genuine leaders are always ready to receive information from their employees. They provide a sense of security by setting other tasks aside and making time to communicate with team members – preferably in-person.  Bosses look for gaps in discussions to interject their own opinions, sometimes without listening to, or absorbing other team member’s thoughts. Bosses also often fail to see the value of face-to-face communications and send an email when a more meaningful form of communication would likely be a better approach.

 Leaders are highly engaged and cultivate enthusiasm. Bosses can be aloof.

Bosses who are easily distracted or appear aloof are often unable to inspire their teams. As a result, employee morale can decline.  In comparison, leaders who are engaged understand the importance of positive reinforcement and regular communication. They recognize how motivation drives positivity and seek to establish and maintain that kind of environment.

 Leaders never stop learning. Bosses become content.

Leaders understand it is never too late to learn something new and there is always a lesson to be learned in every situation. A good leader will not attempt to halt an employee’s personal growth or withhold information, unless absolutely necessary. Bosses often feel they have reached a level of success and expertise and are therefore less open to new ideas or learning opportunities.

Bob McIntyre is the Director of Service Operations for Insperity.  

More Information About Insperity

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 31 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States.