Simply bossing people around is not good enough
Let’s get things straight. A lot of bosses are terrible leaders. And it’s not because they are stupid or bad people in general. It’s because they don’t know how to lead.
Take look at a typical boss.
He’s most likely a successful businessman or a clerk who either got promoted to his management position or opened his own business.
He is probably highly educated, skilled at what he’s doing He’s an expert within his industry, whatever it might be and has vast knowledge in it.
But, he’s a not an expert in leadership. Most likely he has never taken any leadership classes nor courses and his only previous leadership experience is from raising his children.
That’s a worse possible starting point for being a boss.
Leading is a skill just like any other and in order to be good at it you need to learn how to lead. Simply because you happen to be a boss, it doesn’t mean that you have any idea about how governance should be done.
The easiest way to success is to study leadership just like you studied your main subject. There are a huge amount of courses, and if your boss is smart he will put you through one before trusting any employees in your hands.
Another way is to learn through experience, which is the most popular way of doing things, but also the most dangerous one. You see, if a person has the wrong mindset and starts leading people the wrong way, he may never learn how to do it properly. Blinded by his power he will only get worse.
There are also natural born leaders who are good at it from the beginning. But this very rare, and you should not see yourself as one unless you get honest positive feedback from several employees of yours.
There are two ways to lead — the wrong and the right one.
Sure there are a lot of ways to fail, whether it is bad communication, unclear goals, being busy all the time, micromanaging, or just being a total jerk.
But it all comes down to one important question, and that question is:
Based on what power you make decisions?
There two ways to go.
First is Authority.
In this case, a boss makes decisions based on the fact that he is the boss, and that’s it.
A boss like that rarely listens for his employees and doesn’t take them into account. He also never explains his decisions. In his opinion, he’s always right, solely because he was blessed with the high power of being the manager.
I’m sure I don’t have to point out that this way of leadership is both stupid and wrong and will only lead to employees laughing at their boss and his business going down the drain, just because everything is done his way.
If someone disagrees with him, he will tell them that he is the boss and that is what he has decided, so that is also what is going happen. He will, of course, get people to do what he wants, but he will not get respect, they may fear him, but they will not respect him.
It is sadly to notice that this type of wrong leadership is quite common, and especially outside of business field it’s almost always dominant. In politics or military it’s only the authority that matters.
Second is Wisdom.
In this case, a boss makes decisions based on what’s right no matter if it was his opinion to begin with or not.
A boss like that will always try to make the right call, and will often ask his employees opinion. After all, that’s why he hired them in the first place.
A smart boss will be happy to change his decision if it’s later being discovered that it was a wrong one, and award his employee for pointing that out.
It would be nice to use this type of management way even outside one’s workplace. It’s surely not wise to yell at your children that you are the parent and you get to decide how things go, but rather explain them the reason for such decision and maybe next time they will able to make the right choice by themselves.
So how to spot which type of boss you have?
Next time when your boss makes a decision that is bad or wrong in your opinion, ask him why he is deciding this way. A good thing would he also to explain your point of view first or to tell why another decision would be better.
If he’ll refuse to listen to you, tells you that it’s his decision, or does not explain you at all, then you know you got unlucky.
But if on the other hand if he tells you all the pros and cons of his decision and the one you presented, then you surely know he’s a true leader.
There are times when you may not know all the details or your manager does not want to explain everything to you, so he may take a shortcut and refuse to explain his decision to you. Therefore you should not judge your boss based on one scenario, but repeat it several times to see if his reply will vary.
Of course, there are cases when the decision is so obvious that it doesn’t need any explanations. And explaining them will only waste time. Thus it’s important to see the line between reasonable questioning and plain stupidity. No one obligated to explain himself to idiots, and if that idiot happens to be an employee then the only rational thing would be to fire him.
Opinions don’t matter.
Too often it’s said that commonly there is no right decision, but all options are based on different opinion and therefore are all neither right nor wrong. While in some cases it might be true, quite often it’s false.
We live in a world of high technology where almost everything can be measured. Even things commonly seen as opinions, such as which color is better, in reality, have right and wrong alternatives.
For example, if your boss keeps saying that he likes dark colors, but you all see that in A/B testing light colored website template performed much better and had a higher conversion rate. It’s not a matter of opinion anymore. And if he uses his power of authority to keep the dark theme, then he’s only hurting his own business and credibility.
I have managed a large number of different employees for 10 years. And I always go an extra mile to explain to them why something should be done the way I say.
This is simply because I think that they are capable of understanding reason and when will see that my decision is the correct one, will have higher motivation executing it, and maybe not question my decision next time, as they will trust my judgment.
I don’t believe in slavery. In the modern world, you cannot make people do something. And even if you are successful at that, they can always leave.
Trust your employees and treat them equal. After all, you hired them not to obey your orders, but to help you.