Be a leader, not a boss

Written by Lalit Jain | Updated: Nov 4 2013, 22:26pm hrs
Being a boss is not an easy job. People dont naturally wish to have one, and not everyone aspires to be one. There is a distinct difference being a boss and a being a leader. You need to be a leader who inspires, motivates and instils trust and builds loyalty. Managers should strive to become good leaders not just great bosses. By focusing on leadership, people will learn from you, want to contribute to your success, the clients success and their own.

I try to figure out the top traits of an exceptional leader:

l A good leader creates an atmosphere of expansive thinking. He empowers his team with time, resources and techniques, to solve big issues with big ideas instead of quick-fix solutions.

l A good leader builds the right culture from the very beginning. This culture is built by design, meaning it seeks to attract the right people to get on the right seats.

l Most managers often give task-based assignments to people without sharing or involving their team in the long-term strategic plan or business implications. Time and effort spent in teaching someone in your team to work their way through the project certainly pays off. Your team also might surprise you with insightful new ideas.

l If your team has delivered some challenging assignments, dont forget to reward them for a job well done. Applaud them in front of their peers and senior managers.

l An effective leader integrates learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded.

l A good leader builds teams that work together to succeed and fail together (of course, he also guarantees how to ensure people fail safely, if they really are failingthats good direction). This creates a tight bond of loyalty.

l A good leader admits he is a human. He takes responsibility for errors. As a leader, you are also a teacher. Showing a sense of humility when an error happens sends out a message to the team about honesty and about taking up responsibility when things go wrong.

l Leaders demonstrate passion. They have a solid understanding of all the key aspects of the business they are in. They understand the products, the technology, market share, sales channels, and how to read an income statement.

l Good leaders are awesome decision makers. More than anything, management is about decision-making. Thats where the rubber meets the road. The most effective way to do that is to ask the right people the right questions, listen to what they tell you, trust your gut and make the call. If youre right a lot more than youre wrong, youre in good shape.

The author is director and co-founder of Annectos Rewards & Retail, which helps companies build a culture of recognition within organisations they work with through their rewards and recognition solutions