I recently read an article by the Financial Times on “How common are bad bosses?” I’m also currently taking some time off work before starting a new chapter in my career. I wanted to reflect back upon my 15 years of experience to date. While it may seem shorter for someone who’s older and wiser. I think it’s a pretty decent work history to draw from.
I was recently inspired by a conversation I had with my husband. So instead of just sharing all the traits of a bad boss let’s focus on what makes a great leader.
I’ve held a few management roles over the years, overseeing 1 – 10 colleagues. I have struggled as a manager and I’ve found my stride as a manager. I’ve had really great bosses to learn from and not so great bosses. Here are the things over the years that I’ve noticed that separates a leader from a boss. While this is truly applicable to the corporate world if you’re an entrepreneur beginning to hire I hope you keep some of these traits in mind!
What makes a great leader?
- A leader empowers their employees with autonomy to try and fail or succeed. A boss requires that they review all documents and projects causing bottlenecks.
- They spend time actually getting to know their employees, what their values are and what matters most to them. Is it their health? Getting home to their family? Getting in a workout before or after work? Do they love spending time with their friends? Knowing your employee’s motivations enables you to provide them with what they value most. I was given an extra week of vacation before the company was able to provide me with a raise because I value being able to travel 2x a year.
- A true leader provides the company with up to date communication around where the company is going and why certain decisions are being made. I loved working at a large company that would hold town halls every Tuesday. Information was shared so we could understand where the company was headed and even heard from different teams in the company to understand what others were working on.
- A great leader will teach others their communication style, asks how their employees like to be communicated with and then make an effort to adapt to their communication style while staying true to themselves. I have a direct personality and while it’s often misunderstood I’m learning to be very upfront with how I communicate so it’s clear to direct reports or colleagues from the start.
- They provide ample opportunity for educational growth and advancement. I have always appreciated being able to stay current with my skills from time to complete Google Ad certifications to recently a Facebook Blueprint certification
- They have technical competence and wisdom in the business they are in and are open to teaching their employees or direct reports. While I’ve worked for many a boss who has kept their cards close to their chest, I’ve also worked for great bosses who have explained how they set up a tracking spreadsheet so I could understand the nuances of the business.
- They provide constructive feedback in a timely manner and not just during an annual review period.
- A true leader provides their employees and direct reports recognition on jobs well done. When a project or work an employee has the lead on receives an award the employee is the one receiving it on behalf of the company.
Do you consider yourself a leader or a boss?