Do you work for a boss or a leader?

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Leadership lessons at the lobby coffee pot

Leadership lessons at the lobby coffee pot

Last week, I was in San Diego for strategy meetings with my business mastermind (i.e. my coach and business peeps). Being from Minnesota, I was awake every morning at 5:00 while my CA roomies were still asnooze in their beds. Luckily, the hotel served tea very, very early so I found my way to the lobby each morning to grab some caffeine and catch up on email.

At the coffee pot, I met a hotel employee, Luis. One morning, I commented to Luis that he seemed to really enjoy his job. This is what he said, "I love working here. We don't have bosses. We have leaders. They don't just sit in their offices and order us around. They come out here to help us."

Luis got me thinking about you. We've established in the past two weeks that you are a leader regardless of your role. Many of you are also bosses. If you are a great leader, you will also be a great boss. We've all had great bosses. (If you haven't, call me now!)

It doesn't work the other way around. We've all known or worked for sucky bosses who weren't leaders (that NEVER happened to me in my corporate days).

Luis pointed out important differences between the two so you can see where you (and your boss) are behaving as leaders or, ugh, as bossy-pants:

  1. Bosses sit in their corner offices and tell people what to do. Leaders inspire the team.
  2. Bosses have positional power and use it. Leaders have power by virtue of respect, trust, and affection.
  3. Bosses micromanage and want everything done "right." Leaders delegate and play to people's strengths.
  4. Bosses take credit. Leaders give credit and praise generously and often.
  5. Bosses stand in the limelight. Leaders fade so that other people can have success and attention for their accomplishments.

Think of leaders you've loved and bosses you've hated. What can you learn about your own leadership (or bossy-ness) from them?

Lead on!