4 Ways to Be a Leader Instead of Just a Boss

By Kevin Devoto | leadership | March 31, 2022

John Quincy Adams once said, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” In the workplace, you may have the title and responsibilities of a boss. However, by acting as a leader, you can have a more profound effect on your team. A boss can push quotas, set responsibilities, and any other number of managerial tasks. A leader can do the same things while playing a more effective and inspiring role. If you want to transform yourself from a boss into a true leader, that is a great first step. Acknowledging the need for self-improvement is a solid move toward becoming a leader. Here are some other ways to up your management game, inspire your team and become more successful together.

1. Take a Course

There are courses for everything you can think of, including leadership. Free classes, seminars, and webinars can be found online. Try a sampling of these to see what you gain from them. Other learning platforms like Masterclass and Udemy offer self-paced courses on tons of topics, including becoming a leader. If you are serious about committing to an educational program in leadership and management, you can find various college options, ranging from bachelor’s degrees to certificate programs to master’s degrees, depending on your former education. Most of these programs are online to allow flexibility around your current full-time work schedule. Your current employer might even offer to pay for the training or pay some of your tuition costs or student loans.

2. Read

Reading can provide insight into almost any questions you have, including becoming a leader your workers want to work for. A good leader knows that learning must occur each day and that self-improvement is key to becoming a better person, inside and outside of work. You will see significant and noticeable differences when you begin to dedicate time each day to reading, learning something new, and facilitating personal growth and development. Start building to the stack of books to read with this list of best leadership books, and always be on the lookout for new books to read and new things to learn.

Following the blogs and websites of influential leaders can help you gain insight and knowledge. Sometimes these leaders will share personal stories of their growth, failures and lessons learned. Other times they will write articles regularly to help teach a lesson or skill or share knowledge on a specific topic. This is a great way to learn something, and the pieces are typically short enough to finish over your morning coffee.

3. Delegate

If you are new to a management position, you may feel a strong desire to do everything for yourself so that it is done how you want it to be done. Learning to delegate tasks can be highly challenging for new managers. However, if you’re going to become a leader, you need to focus on that. Plus, your productivity will increase because you will not have tasks on your list that others are more than capable of handling. Delegation is a great way to show your team that you trust them, plus it can improve productivity, efficiency, and employee engagement.

4. Character

Do not let a little power go to your head. A significant difference between a boss and a leader is the character the person with power possesses. If you worked with the team before being promoted, learn to step away from friendships while concentrating on fairness. Integrity is another key ingredient for a great leader. The decisions you make do not only affect you. They affect the whole team and the company, so being morally sound and making the right choice under challenging situations are essential.

Final Thoughts

We have all probably worked for a good boss and a bad boss. If not, we have probably heard stories from our family and friends. A great leader is a good boss who has found ways to inspire, motivate and lead the team to its goals. Becoming someone others want to work for takes time and effort, but you can get there with constant growth and personal development.