Tag Archives: Boss

Boss versus Leader – not so clear cut.

Boss vs Leader

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Intuitively, the picture resonates.  We’ve all had the petty-tyrant boss; the person who loves the sound of their own voice and is oblivious to the resentment and de-motivation they’re engendering.

And most of us can relate to the manager who loves to roll up his sleeves and jump in on the line.

But don’t be fooled.  There’s a problem with the scenario that this image paints, especially when it comes to larger teams with significant division of labour:

You can’t fly at 40,000 feet and be on the tarmac at the same time.

If you as the organizational leader are always “hands-on”, who’s doing your job?  To belabor the cheap analogies; if the captain is always in the engine room, the ship’s going to run aground.


Don’t “lord it” over your team.  Challenge them, but don’t be a slave-driver.  Be nice, respectful, sincere, and above all, just.  But recognize that their job is not yours.  They need to be accountable for their role, just as you need to be accountable for yours.

In a pinch, get in the trenches and dig.  But if you need to do that regularly, you’re not doing your job properly; you’re just a very overpaid member of the team.

When it comes to that bromide about being “Hands On”, here’s the rule to follow:

Be hands-on as much as necessary, but as little as possible.

And over time, given that a part of your job as “boss” is to develop your reports, you should be hands-on less and less.  That will be easier if you master the art of delegation.

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Apologies for all the links, hope they weren’t distracting and that you find some of the material useful.

Questions or comments – feel free.







10 Give-aways that your boss is a phony

REAL leaders, that is, titled-leaders who have good leadership skills (which is not a given), choose to lead not for the sake of leading per se, but because they have a vision of what could be, and they’re out to create it.  They inspire others to join them in creating that vision.

Unfortunately, many titled leaders are in it for other reasons.  Power, prestige, money.  They give lip-service to the Vision, but either their heart is not in it, or, they’re incompetent – that is, as the saying goes: their heart is in the right place, but their head is screwed on backwards.

Either way, as a leader, they’re faking it.  Here’s 10 tells that your boss is a phony:

Doesn’t deliver on commitments and promises;

Talks about caring, but when needed, doesn’t show it;

Doesn’t walk the talk (do what I say, not what I do)

Lays on the false charm (and then talks about people behind their backs);

Is never on deck;

Is always on deck;

Answers in generalities and cliches – never takes a stand;

Parrots the “company line”;

Brags about past achievements – always telling stories about “what I used to do”;


Is nervous when the bigger boss comes to visit.

There has to be at least 10 more.  Everybody’s had a phony boss or two; feel free to add your “tells” in comments.