There is a distinct difference between a leader and a boss. Lots of people become a ‘boss’ of others in the workplace without having the skills to be a leader.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the traits that make up the ‘perfect’ leader:
They trust their employees
A leader trusts their employees to get things done and to help them shape the way the business is run. They tell their workforce everything, from the company’s financial situation to any changes that might affect them.
A leader is open and honest and expects the same in return. They won’t micro manage like a poor boss might, they delegate tasks and leave people to get on with them, perhaps checking in once everything has been completed to ensure everyone is happy.
They are not superior
Remember that boss you had (or perhaps have) who evokes fear whenever they’re in the office and when they leave the atmosphere changes completely? Those guys are not leaders. A leader is not your superior. They don’t simply expect respect, they know they have to earn it and in doing so they act more like your colleague than someone who is above you in the pecking order.
They invest in people
A leader knows how important their workforce is and will do their best to ensure everyone is aware of their training options and career progression. They understand people have aspirations and will do their best to accommodate these. They can be flexible when it comes to working situations, because they trust their employees to do what’s needed, wherever they are based.
They ensure the tools for the job are the right ones
No shoddy computer chairs or ancient computer systems, leaders understand that for jobs to be done properly the company needs the right tools and will invest accordingly. From looking into admin assistance such as CIPHR HR systems to ensuring the printer works and is serviced regularly, leaders keep everything moving and fix problems before they escalate.
They set a good example
Leaders will always be in the office, because their colleagues are too, whereas a boss will take days off whenever they fancy because they think they are too important for anyone to say anything. Leaders understand that they need to set a fair example to their employees and, in turn, their expectations will be met by doing so.
They reward employees
Rather than taking all the glory for themselves when it comes to completed work, leaders recognise their employees and reward them for their hard work. This could be in the form of something as simple as taking them out for pizza or having a monthly prize for those they believe have excelled.
They listen to everyone
Bosses don’t care for an employee’s genuine reason for lateness, they don’t allow any wriggle room on deadlines and they definitely don’t care about people’s opinions, whereas a leader actually allocates time to listen to problems and understands that people have a life outside the workplace.
They don’t humiliate their employees
Things sometimes go wrong in all workplaces. However, a leader would never stand in the middle of a crowded office and shout at a person or inflict unfair discipline procedures on their staff. They understand that mistakes can be made and that nothing will be achieved if a person is left humiliated in front of their colleagues.
In fact, they might just leave or at the very least their performance may suffer. Therefore, instead of scolding or shouting, they will privately offer constructive criticism if they feel someone could have done better.