Which One Are You? The Unconventional Comparison of A Boss and Leader

Just a few days ago, my ex-colleague who holds a leadership position texted me. Knowing that I’m in the area of leadership development, he jokingly mentioned that I should be conducting sessions for my ex-boss.

A quick background on why the above conversation occurred: My ex-boss has the highest turnover rate in the company and she does not seem to realize she is the root cause for the high attrition within her team. My ex-colleague has tried hinting to her but didn’t work out well. She’s still behaving very much the same. When I think back about my working relationships with her, she undoubtedly delivers result but at the expense of relationships with her team.

This sets me thinking: “How many of you, leaders out there, are actually facing relatively high turnover and may not have good working relationships with your team members but have no idea why, even though you think you are doing the right things?” My guess is loads. Otherwise, the adage that “people don’t leave company, they leave their boss” wouldn’t still stand so true.

As someone who leads a team of people, I bet you have a deep desire to know if you are labelled a good leader or a boss (please tell me you know the differences). Because it directly affects your reputation, chances of promotion business results, capabilities and relationships. If you ask Google for”differences between a boss and a leader”, you’ll get the answers in no time. For instance, a boss drives employees whereas a leader coaches them. A boss commands and a leader asks. Most of the comparisons are work related.

Instead, I’m more curious about differences on a more private level.

Check out the infographic below. It’s a little layman, but highly accurate as its very close to reality.

Boss or a Leader

So, where do you stand? If you score like a BOSS, it’s difficult for you to move further up the career ladder or grow your business because you will find it difficult to garner support from your team. In short, NO ONE is willing to help you. On the other hand, if you have score highly as a leader, you won’t find it too difficult to have your people’s commitment and help. Between two executives whom both delivers results, one being more people-oriented and the other one doesn’t have good working relationships, who is more lightly to be considered for promotion?

Or consider two similar businesses – one provides “go-the-extra-mile” service because their leader empower the employees to do so whereas the one just provide a so-so customer service because employees don’t see the need to do more than required. Which business is expected to have more customers, grow in size and trigger more viral word-of-mouth?

It’s an easy answer. The question is “Do you want to continue being a BOSS or a LEADER?“.

At this point of time, you may be thinking it’s easier said than done. I will show you it’s not difficult being a Leader and it doesn’t take up too much time. On top of that, you will see tremendous, positive changes in your people, yourself as well as the areas that you are concerned about – career progression, business results etc.

Take Chen Lanshu for example. Chen Lanshu is a talented chef and restaurant owner (Le Mout) in Taiwan. She is a hardworking, driven go-getter. In the initial stages of running her own restaurant, it didn’t occur to her that she was the reason for the departures of her top-notch chefs and other staffs. She just wanted to do things well but overlooked that getting the results she wants is just one part of running the business. The other part is to be a respected leader such that those working for her would be motivated and committed to achieving better standards and results for her business.

See her video below (with credits to SK-II):

Click here for Transcript in English
When I was young,
I was very much a young girl living in her own world.
I read alone, baked alone,
and very much enjoying the freedom from being alone.
Because I like to cook a lot,
I first graduated with a Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature,
then I went to France to learn how to bake
and then switched to focus on culinary.
The 4 years when I was in France,
I’ve encountered all sorts of delicacies from all over the world,
and some of the most outstanding French cuisines.
All that I’ve seen were the best and so,
at that time I decided I must come back to Taiwan to have my own unique restaurant.
If I’m going to do it, I want to be doing it really well.
My restaurant finally had its grand opening.
But then I realized starting a restaurant
and giving it my all are two different things.
Whatever I thought was good may not be well understood by others.
At that time, I blamed it on my team for not meeting my expectations.
Under that kind of situation,
I need to be very tactful in my communication.
There are many people who don’t understand me and
I’m not able to lead them.
In the restaurant’s 2nd year of operations, there were a series of resignations.
Some of them were my most capable staff.
When they left, they clearly told me that
“I cannot accept your leadership style at all,”
It was a big blow to me.
Then I begin to seriously give some thoughts to all that has happened.
I realized that they did not leave the company.
They left me.
It was me they left.
It dawn on me that I should step out of my own world.
A good restaurant cannot solely rely on one good chef.
No matter how good that chef is,
the restaurant cannot go on without a team.
So I gradually change myself,
change my behaviors and the way I think.
I made an effort to feel and understand them, by putting myself in their shoe.
I used to enjoy being alone.
Now, I discovered that once I breakthrough myself,
to enjoy the presence and companionship of a team,
I feel more warmth
and is more blissful than before.
I am Chen Lanshu and I believe you can change your own destiny.

Chen Lanshu’s self-discovery of the root cause to her destabilizing business was just on time for her to pull herself and her business back together. The efforts she took to knit the team together are by no means rocket science.

You and any leader can also get the same results. i.e. to get outstanding business achievements and be the leader your members looked up to. In the next couple of days, I’m going to show you the common mistakes people make when trying to be a great leader and the no-brainer way to have your people’s respect, and have them stay committed to helping you achieve more, voluntarily.

In no time, you will see the powerful effects due to your efforts to be a better leader on different areas of work and life. Stay tune and I’ll show you THE WAY on how to become the well-respected leader and get the business results you want.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on leadership so leave your comments below.

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