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Are you a leader or are you a boss?

Updated on September 30, 2012

Not all leaders are leaders, they’re just Bosses!

Not all leaders are leaders, they’re just Bosses! Have you heard of this before? I can’t recall who said this to me before but the statement did struck a chord in me. Twanggg…something clicked subconciously. It feels right. Not all leaders I know are like that but I bet there are a good number of people called “leaders” working in organizations who are not behaving like leaders. They behave more like bosses, which I take it here to mean someone who bosses people around, tells people what to do, sets the targets but sometimes not the tasks and generally comes across as people who are more interested about themselves than about their people. Nothing wrong about being interested in oneself – it’s only natural but there is a crucial difference between a “leader leader” and a “leader boss”. What is it?

The mindset. A leader boss’s mindset is geared towards wielding power primarily for his own benefit. His primary preoccupation is with his own glory, his own advancement, his own promotion and how good he looks to his superiors or constituents. To achieve this, he would usually focus on improving the business or the organization but there are also some who just play politics to make themselves look good in front of their superiors (i.e. good in managing upwards). As long as they don’t make any major blunders, they would be able to pull it off.

What about the leader leader? A leader leader’s mindset is focused not just on results but also on people. Now, a leader leader also wants to look good in front of his superiors and constituents but how he wields power is different from the leader boss. A leader leader focuses first on improving the business or organization but he is also focused on how he handles his people – how to bring them along if he intends to institute changes, how to grow them and support them in the process. In simple terms, how he treats his people in the process of achieving results marks the difference between a leader who is a leader and a leader who is merely a boss.

So, how do you develop yourself to become a leader leader? What specifically about the mindset that makes one a leader? To answer this question, let’s just state that there are 2 schools of thought out there. One – a leader is born, not made. Two – a leader is made, not born. We are not going to discuss the arguments for both, but let me just state my belief on this – I believe that a leader is made, not born. More on this in future articles/postings, but for now, if you believe that a person can learn to become a leader, then there is a certain mindset that he needs to have, and mindset is something that we can change or adopt. Goto hub on Lead yourself first before leading others to read more about this.


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      Ashogbon Serah 6 years ago

      I believe that a leader could be born; in that sense that human being is formed by personality and environment and this personality is a psychological as well as innate factor also it contains hereditary. so then if a person's either parent has leadership trait such can be transferred to the offspring but then it need development which also support that leaders are made.