Want To Be a Leader? Get Involved.
Last week was our 2018 Roma Wish Mission and it really got me thinking about leadership. As I packed up and headed over to pick up our van to meet with the rest of the Roma team, I thought about how important it was for all of us to be experiencing the upcoming week as volunteers at the Central Detroit Christian Community Development together.
People are really starting to differentiate between a leader and a boss – and now more than ever, we’re seeing high level executives come out of their corner offices to engage with their employees on a genuine level. It’s because being a leader has become far more important than being a boss, and good people are walking away from organizations that lack great leadership.
For me, a leader doesn’t really care about being a boss. They come to work every day to lead because they care about their employees. One of the ways I show my employees that I care about them is by making sure that I’m a part of their lives at work. The Roma Wish missions have been a great way of making this happen every year in a big way, and as we got ready to leave for Detroit last weekend, I started to think about what differentiates a leader from a boss.
Here’s what I came up with.
A team player. There’s a huge difference between a boss that likes to harp about teamwork but doesn’t actually include themselves as part of the team. If you’re not getting involved, you’re not a true leader. A great leader does more than hand you the instructions and walk away, in fact, they get in there themselves because they’re in touch with the fact that people need to feel like they matter. They consider their own place in the grand scheme of things, and when they talk about teamwork, they include themselves as part of that team, not only in thought but also in action.
A motivator. Thinking about the sense of control that bosses often like to have, or the need to ensure that everyone knows who’s in charge. This obsession with authority doesn’t actually accomplish anything. On the other hand, the sincere desire to ensure that everyone knows what they’re accountable for and why, does. And if you know what people are up to, you’ll naturally know how to encourage them and build their confidence, leading them towards a goal you’re all working toward together.
Emotional intelligence. There’s a massive transformation going on across the world of work, because leaders are acknowledging just how much time people are spending at work, how much your workplace dictates your mental and emotional health and the reality of how unnatural it is to tell someone to leave their feelings at the door. Leaders get that when you come to work, all of you comes to work, and your success is heavily reliant on your ability to find a harmony between the two.
A (really) good communicator. Possibly one of the biggest flaws of a “boss” is the lack of attention given to communication. A leader usually makes sure you’ve got all of the information you need. It’s likely that they will even think about questions you may encounter before they arise. Great leaders are more often than not the best communicators. They encourage you to ask questions and aim to equip you with the tools to succeed.
I rarely hear people use the term “boss” anymore, unless they’re telling me they’re doing a kick ass job at something. And I don’t mind that, because maybe the term and its associations are simply outdated.
And that’s probably for the best.