I’m not bossy, I’m a leader.

Kenneth Blanchard, an influential leadership expert, once said: “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” If you had said this 40 years ago, it would have been frowned upon. Nowadays people in a business environment applaud this way of working and thinking.

But what is influence and what is authority? A boss manages his team by being authoritarian, while a leader inspires/influences them to innovate, think creatively, and strive for perfection. Anyone in a position of power can be a boss, but not every boss knows how to be a leader. When a boss practices leadership and is not an autocratic boss, his people feel this and are better equipped and motivated to reach their full potential.

Back in the days children would have to sit still in class, be quiet and only speak when been spoken too. If they gave a wrong answer they would get punished and/or yelled upon. The child, now afraid, will not be motivated to answer or engage in class. What’s the expression, you don’t attract flies with vinegar?

In a working environment it is similar. Employees need room for making mistakes and learning from them. They need to be motivated to learn and improve their way of working. And that can only happen when they are led by someone who inspires them and of whom they are not afraid.

The times of dictatorial management or being ‘a bossy boss’ are over and the times of being a leader have arrived. How to be a leader?

  1. Listen > talk  
    Bosses talk, leaders listen. Don’t just bark out orders. Create two-way communication where there is room for conversation. Listen first and talk afterwards, speech is silver, silence is golden.
  2. Team success > personal success 
    Leaders say ‘we, bosses say ‘I’… A leader will always put the teams’ or projects’ success before its own.
  3. Guide > micromanage
    Bosses can often be seen micromanaging and asserting themselves on employees and their tasks. Leaders, on the other hand, implement a sense of self-belief and determined work ethic, which ultimately leads to employees being accountable themselves.
  4. Collaborate > command 
    When bosses expect unrealistic standards of their employees it can tend to cause issues inside the company as employees try to find ways to deal with the demands. This can lead to subpar work and even resentment of their supervisors. A leader will help realize these expectations by directing the actions employees should take, instead of demanding things be done.
  5. Teach > expect 
    Do not expect greatness if you are not willing to share your knowledge or set a good example. A leader actively seeks ways to help develop their workers’ skill sets and create learning opportunities to help them grow.

An independent professional can be a gatekeeper for a company and an example in practicing these 5 pointers. They are experts in sharing their knowledge, putting the projects’ success first, listening to the people’s and projects’ needs, collaborating and guiding a team.

An independent professional or interim manager is a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal and they have the skillset of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. To be brief: leaders with a certain leadership style.


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