Think back on the best boss you ever had. Was that person someone whom you feared or respected? Did she inspire you to do work, or did you do it because you had to — she was “the boss”? How did others feel about him as a superior? Do you, as a boss, emulate that person’s best qualities? And do you actually lead your employees? The best bosses do.

  • Quite simply, leaders lead rather than dictate.

Consider the important difference between the two: When a boss leads, he sets a good example for those underneath him to follow — he acts in a way that others respect and want to emulate. Everyone knows that stereotype of the boss who sits in his office and commands from on high, telling others what to do while leaving early and not working as hard as the employees. And when you truly lead, others will follow. Be a boss whose leadership inspires others to emulate your good example…and you will earn loyalty without fear. It’s the fine but important line between commanding respect and demanding it: leaders command it through their actions — they earn respect. Dictators demand it because of their position. 

  • Leaders think in terms of the team.

Again, rather than issuing directives from on high, work with your employees to help them improve and make positive changes to the company. Make yourself available for questions and concerns — and truly listen to what employees have to say, considering their efforts can mean the difference between success and failure. When you make goals, do it with the mindset of what will work best for the team and what you can do to help them do their best. Listen to their needs and supervise well enough to meet them. The boss who leads thinks in terms of bringing everybody up rather than simply focusing on the bottom line; she knows the former influences the latter. 

  • Leaders motivate.

Some bosses prefer to rule using scare tactics, knowing that their employees will do their work out of fear of repercussions. However, that only goes so far, and it certainly doesn’t inspire loyalty in most employees. When you have a large project coming up that necessarily requires some longer hours or harder work, the boss who encourages his employees and views it as a chance to create something positive for everyone will get a more genuine effort than the boss who demands his employees stay late and lets them know their jobs are on the line if they don’t produce.

So consider again: Are you a stereotypical boss, or would others consider you a leader as well? Work on making yourself the person who extends a hand to employees rather than pointing a finger at them. For advice on how to work well with employees, visit PrideStaff.

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