Bosses Versus Leaders – Working Smart.
Today’s inbox was like any other day. Hundreds of emails, some of which were industry newsletters I sign up for with good intentions, but rarely read. But today, I opened my Smartbrief newsletter and read an article (in New York Times) about Bosses vs Leaders. Some may think they are the same. Some may think one naturally befits the other.
The article summary said it all. “A boss is one who clings to power, but a leader delegates and defers to the experience and expertise of others.” This quote comes from Bill Flemming, president of Skanska USA Building via the Smartbrief – New York Times article. While I know nothing about the company, his message caught my attention. It’s true. We’ve all been in organizations with bosses. But, what a gift when you are part of a group with a leader. They encourage you. They ask questions. They make you feel like you are part of the decision process. That’s empowering.
And what leadership needs to remember is that they don’t have to have all the answers. It took me some time to figure that out. From a subordinate perspective, I incorrectly assumed leadership would have the answers. From a Leadership perspective, I realized that I wasn’t brought on to have all the answers. Rather to use my experience and expertise in getting to a solution – and part of that expertise is leveraging the team members.
One thing I’ve always committed to: when presenting a problem, come with a proposed solution. It is expected of me, and I expect it of my team. That doesn’t always sit well with those who expect an answer and are not committed to working out the solution. Believe me when I say I’ve seen the frustration in someone’s eyes when I wouldn’t tell them exactly what to do. Are there are times for that? Yes. But whether I have the answer of not, I’m committed to leading and not bossing. I want to lead the team to answers. Answers that will benefit us both. I don’t know it all. But what I do know, is that I have a team that can – an will – get the answers.
I’m very fortunate to have Leaders in my organization. Daily, I recognize opportunities to learn and lead. It keeps the saw sharp.
Here’s to working smart. And, creating tomorrow’s leaders.