From Boss to Leader

When asked the difference between a boss and a Leader, British retailer Harry Selfridge said:

The boss drives people; the leader coaches them

The boss depends on authority; the leader on goodwill

The boss inspires fear; the leader enthusiasm

The boss says ‘I’; the leader says ‘We’

The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown

The boss says ’Go’; the leader says ‘Let’s go ‘

A leader enlists people to put their heart into their work, along with their head, and to approach work from a place of commitment and connection. He encourages them to actively engage in doing what needs to be done, improving processes, measuring results and seeking continuous improvement.

Simply put, by changing his or her management style, attitude towards staff, personal relationships, approach towards problem solving, performance review management, way of communicating and generally instilling a work environment that will make staff want to come to work rather than pitching up to earn a salary.

A good leader surrounds himself/herself with competent people who buy into a shared vision on what needs to be done to be successful. Having recruited the best and motivated them to excel, the ongoing challenge is to nurture and develop them to grow their careers. This is more often done by providing training. A true leader, however, will encourage a coaching approach where, on the job, learning is acquired from a supervisor who knows his business and has learnt coaching skills.

A successful leader will meet with his/her staff to discuss and jointly agree on objectives, goals and targets. Thereafter he, or she, would monitor progress, adjust direction where necessary, and encourage a super level of performance through the energy of highly motivated workers. Such a leader will have an organised workload and trust his people to get the job done by delegating effectively.

Leaders are good communicators, not only internally to their own people but to all stakeholders, including owners/shareholders, customers, suppliers, Banks and local authorities. They do this through clear and concise written, or preferably verbal, communication, regularly.

Resistance to change is often something a leader has to deal with to shift the mindsets of his staff according to changes in the business or workplace environment. A leader overcomes this with open discussions on the need for change as well as encouraging participation in finding solutions and a new path to follow.

Great leaders will have all these attributes plus the ability to see the big picture and apportion time and effort over the aspects of the business that matter most. They are visionaries and take people with them on their journey to accomplish their goals.

A leadership coach, preferably experienced in business, has the skills to guide a person, lacking in leadership experience and skills, to acquire and develop a new approach towards their management role.

This is done by a series of discussions with a coach who embarks on a journey of discovery with an aspiring manager whereby the latter, over a period of time, changes his/her approach more towards a leadership style of management. The guidance of the coach towards self awareness and learning is more impactful than mere training on leadership principles, as managers gain insights about themselves, their styles and a better way of operating that become ingrained.

They learn new habits to improve their leadership effectiveness that have not been imposed but were rather learnt by them from their own reflections and insights.

Terry Sorour

Leader Coaching

August 2016

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