One of my kids recently told me that she hoped to be “a boss” one day. I replied: “Aim higher. Be a leader, not a boss.” She was getting the two ideas confused and I wanted to help her see the big differences! I rattled off the names of some people who have made such a mark on my life – they were leaders, not bosses! A good conversation followed.
A leader collaborates. A boss dictates.
A leader willingly serves. A boss likes to be served.
A leader talks “we”. A boss talks “I”.
A leader gives credit. A boss takes credit.
A leader wants others to be better than them. A boss fears others being better than them.
A leader fosters encouragement. A boss fosters fear.
A leader embraces courageous conversations. A boss usually gets others to do the hard stuff.
A leader talks about others. A boss talks about himself or herself.
A leader earns respect. A boss demands it.
A leader shapes a legacy. A boss, yearns an empire.
A leader develops leaders. A boss grooms followers.
And as I see leadership, a leader doesn’t bully, intimidate or seek to put others down. Any form of abuse is not the way of Jesus.
Sure leaders are imperfect, but a good leader knows they are a constant work in progress and they can’t grow on their own!
Yes, I accept there are some generalisations above, but I think pondering the differences are helpful and humbling for those of us seeking to be shaped more and more into Christ-like servant leaders. We’re not called to be bosses and yet we can be seduced by ego, power and position.
May I strive to be a better leader – not a boss, masquerading as a leader. There’s a big difference!