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Build Your Culture: Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Sean Dailey, Ytel |  

Let's paint a picture that many of us have experienced - Waking up in the morning and having no desire to go to work and deal with the tyrant, your boss, another day. Barking commands and making you feel less than trustworthy and incapable. There will come a time in your career when you’re the boss, and that’ll be your chance to be the change you always wanted to see. As a manager, you have the power to affect your team's immediate future, and to affect what kind of boss they become someday.

Let's paint a picture that many of us have experienced - Waking up in the morning and having no desire to go to work and deal with the tyrant, your boss, another day. Barking commands and making you feel less than trustworthy and incapable. There will come a time in your career when you’re the boss, and that’ll be your chance to be the change you always wanted to see. As a manager, you have the power to affect your team's immediate future, and to affect what kind of boss they become someday.

Be a leader, not a boss

So how exactly do you avoid being THAT boss? The one who inspires fear in everyone, who causes silence upon entering a room. Instead of being a boss, be a leader.  Here's how. 

Don’t light fires under people, light them from within


A boss tends to command and demand things, pushing employees to meet deadlines through fear and uncertainty or promising rewards for a job well done. Although this can be effective, it’s extrinsic and will only last as long as the fear or reward does. Instead of lighting a fire under your team, light a fire within them. A leader sparks enthusiasm and excitement within their team. They empower them to discover unrealized potential or interests. Leaders use this intrinsic motivation to create long term success.

Don’t place blame, accept it yourself


A boss looks to find a culprit, a root cause to an issue, someone to blame for the failure. Paying little to no attention to their own involvement in the problem. Ignoring the potential for a flaw in process or lack of involvement on their part. A leader takes the blame upon themselves, and the onus to find the solution. Rather than worry who dropped the ball, they pick the ball up and run with it. A leader holds themselves responsible for their team, good, bad or indifferent.

Give credit, don’t take it


A boss lives for the glory and jumps at the chance to revel in the success of what their team has done. A leader, on the other hand, is humble. They give credit where credit is due and they understand that it’s a team effort, not an individual one.

Learn to develop talent, instead of just using it


A boss looks at an employee’s skills to see how they fit into their team, how they can be used or leveraged. It’s almost a “what can you do for me” experience. On the other hand, a leader looks at their employee’s skills and asks how they can expand upon them. A leader looks to develop his team, providing more tools that will eventually return tenfold.

The power of “we,” not “I”


A boss can be self centered, as if the team revolves around them and their needs. Everything is on their time, to their liking. A leader knows they are simply a cog in the machine that is their team. A leader is the captain of the team. There to provide guidance, support, and to lead by example. They are a part of the team, not an individual.

Stand with your team, not above them


A boss holds tight to their rung on the corporate ladder. They make sure their team knows who is in charge, and often take a back seat when it comes to workload. They just survey the work. A leader is in the trenches with their team. They roll up their sleeves and take charge. There is no task too small for a true leader.

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About The Author

Sean Dailey, Ytel

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Sean leads the Recruiting efforts and is involved with Product Development at Ytel. After almost 4 years of agency recruiting, Sean decided to move towards internal recruiting and joined Ytel. He is a huge believer in culture, and puts an emphasis on building relationships.


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