Anyone can be a boss. But bosses don’t inspire others the way leaders do, which is why it’s important for those who manage others to examine the difference. The disparity can be easily spotted, writes Lolly Daskal for Inc. “The boss says, ’Go!’; the leader says, ’Let’s go!,’” Daskal writes. Leaders can inspire collaboration and create an environment in which people are eager to work. ”(Leaders have) an authentic authority that comes from who you are, not what you say or do,” she writes.
So how do you stop being a boss and become a true, inspiring leader?
That one little word – authenticity – can play an important role, writes Anka Wittenberg for Entrepreneur. Leaders must be willing to show their true selves, and to let go of a seemingly “all-knowing” persona. “Leaders who display invulnerability create disengagement throughout the company culture,” Wittenberg writes. “But embracing vulnerability (is) the key to creating an effective workforce for the future.”
The trick is aligning one’s true thoughts and feelings with one’s actions, writes Laura Huckabee-Jennings for the Huffington Post. “It is the gap between our words and our apparent emotions that keep others from fully trusting that we are honest and authentic,” she writes. “Research about body language that declares it to be more important than words is referring specifically to these kinds of incongruent situations. When words and body language match, the words matter most. When words and body language are out of sync, we trust the body language more.”
Her advice: “Come out from behind your professional armor and lead fearlessly.” Leaders must be willing to take risks, Wittenberg writes, but the payoffs are often worth it – and can create a shift in company culture. Becoming more authentic in the workplace can encourage their employees to do the same. “By encouraging people to be who they truly are, and by welcoming differences, leaders create a more supportive, productive work environment,” Wittenberg writes. “Employees then become more engaged and willing to take risks. They channel their energy into innovation, which inevitably benefits the company.”
Other qualities are important too, writes Satya D. Sinha for Business World, like having a sense of humor, as well as being communicative, agile, adaptable and honest. “Leaders are said to be born, but history of every great leader indicates their crude making, their experience and learning,” Sinha writes. “To be a leader, one must be passionate to learn, observe, adapt and execute.”