Are you a boss or a leader?
- The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them.
- The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.
- The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
- The boss says “I”; the leader says “we”.
- The boss assigns the task; the leader sets the pace.
- The boss says “Get there on time”; the leader gets there ahead of time.
- The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
- The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
- The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes it fun.
- The boss says “Go”; the leader says “Let’s go.
If you’re anything like me, by now you’ve been through each line to decide which you are. Your next question might be “Which one would I like to be?” and maybe “What would my team think?”
Let me pose this question to you “ As a small business owner is it better to be a Boss or a Leader?”
You could argue that without question you should be a Boss; someone who exercises authority and makes all decisions. After all, your business is ‘your baby’, you have been nurturing and building it since day 1 and you’re not about to let go. No one else will ever be able to do things properly and to your incredibly high standards unless you are watching over them, telling them what to do and how to do it, making all the plans and taking the key decisions, maintaining the closest relationships with the customers and generally being visibly in charge. After all, that’s why you’ve got this far.
You can’t do it alone
The upside here is that while you are a very small business you may just about be able to manage and control everything without driving yourself into the ground. (Of course, your key team members, your most important assets, may leave because they feel undervalued and disengaged from you and your business.) The downside is that you risk not only high staff turnover and all the critical issues and expenses that come with that; but also the possible stagnation of your business because you simply haven’t got time to focus on the strategic aspects that will drive business growth and profits.
Consider what happens when the small business owner is a Leader, someone who inspires and guides others, who trains and empowers them to take action and make decisions. They build a strong team of motivated and committed individuals who will ‘go the extra mile for the business’ and are proud to be part of the enterprise, in bad times as well as good and, most importantly, they stay in the business.
Get your employees on board
The current ‘management speak’ for this phenomenon is called “Employee Engagement.” It’s actually been around for a very long time but finally organisations are waking up to the fact that employees really do make a difference to the bottom line. A highly engaged worker is defined as someone who builds better customer loyalty, better financial results, does the job to the very best of their ability and always goes above and beyond the call of duty.
In a recent study the Hay Group showed that highly engaged employees can improve business performance by up to 30% and are 2.5 times more likely to exceed their performance expectations than their disengaged colleagues. Imagine if you could cultivate more engagement in your team – what difference could results like that make to your business?
Good leaders drive employee engagement by using a specific set of skills. They coach, motivate, inspire, lead by example, work along side when it’s necessary, set the business direction, continuously raise the bar and have fun with the team along the way. They’re enthusiastic, inclusive, value driven and celebrate positive results; even the small ones.
The benefits to your business from honing your leadership skills are immense and proven in businesses both large and small; but most of the benefits for you come from having an engaged team of people who treat your business as though it’s their business.
You’ll have better customer retention and more customers, higher service levels, improved achievement of goals from your small business plan, empowered and well trained staff with improved retention, concrete succession plans, bigger market share, enhanced reputation, more valuable time for you to work on the business, not in it, as well as more profit to invest. Wow!
So, back to our original question – “As a small business owner is it better to be a Boss or Leader?” I think it’s a ‘no brainer!’