August 19, 2016

Be a Leader, not a Boss

During my career days, I didn’t like my subordinates calling or referring me as “boss”. The reason: the term “boss” sounds intimidating, which is an undesirable trait of a bullyish leader. Thus I tried to be their leader—coach, example-setter, mentor, motivator, inspirer, role model—instead of being a boss to my subordinates. Of course sometimes, it was necessary for me to be strict and firm, but I always tried to be a motivator instead of being too pushy to get things done by giving harsh orders or using threats of punishments. (Bullyish is a new word that came into existence lately, which the Wiktionary, the online dictionary, defines it as an informal adjective meaning: “resembling or characteristics of a bully”).
The subordinates disdain such bullyish persons as bossy persons. So, please try not to be such a bossy person. Today, a Myanmar version: “Bawsi”, a corrupted form of English that sounds similar to the word bossy is being popularly used among the middle-aged and younger generations. I see that as a sarcasm rather than as a compliment. Thus try to be a leader and not a boss, otherwise you will become a Bawsi.
At this juncture, I should explain the meaning of the term leader. Any dictionary, if you care to look up, would define that as a person who leads or commands a group of men or an organization. Whereas, the word boss, in the noun form is defined as a person who heads a group of men or organization. In both of the cases, each is given as a synonym to the other.
From the above definitions, one may think a leader is the same as a boss. However, if one would study them closely, though they may seem to be the same in the sense that one leads and the other heads a group or an organization, they are quite different in essence. Also, it is evident from the fact that the dictionaries define the verb form of boss as: giving orders in a domineering manner and its synonyms include bully, control, dictate, dominate, overbearing, pressure, pushy,  to mention just a few.
The word leader embodies good qualities, while the word boss depicts negative or despicable traits in a person. For example, such words as “a bossy person” or “bossing around” that are derived from the word boss depict bad image or action. Furthermore, the word boss is more commonly used in connection with illegal organizations or gangs; for example: Mafia boss (godfather), Yakusa boss, etc.
My perceptions of the two words may seem eccentric or even sound absurd and might not be acceptable to some at first, but if one would care to give it some time for a serious thought, it would become palatable. So, I would like to urge those who are in positions to lead others, whether in political, business, civil services, military, religious, sports, community or social organizations, and etc, to try to be fair, good and understanding leaders instead of being bullyish bosses.
To be a good leader, one has to possess the leadership skills, which can be acquired through training. The most commonly accepted leadership skills are:—
1.    Inspires and motivates others.
2.    Displays high integrity and honesty.
3.    Solves problems and analyzes issues.
4.    Drives for results.
5.    Communicates powerfully and prolifically.
6.    Builds relationships.
7.    Displays technical or professional expertise.
8.    Displays a strategic perspective.
9.    Develops others.
10.  Innovates.
It is no secret that the environments for every organization or sector are changing faster than before in the world today, which requires the people and the organizations they work for, to change right along with it. Great leaders see the changes coming on the horizons, and they constantly push their organizations to be in the right place when those changes happen. Those who are playing the leading roles should try to be such foresighted leaders.
Apart from the leadership skills mentioned above, I have conceived some ideas of my own, based on my experiences relating to leadership. They are as follows:–
1. Be a father/mother figure to your subordinates.
2. Avoid favouritism; don’t treat anyone as pet, treat everyone equally and fairly.
3. Be selfless, sensible and  understanding to your subordinates.
4. Take responsibility.
5. Avoid corruption.
6. Be an example to your subordinates, or in other words be their role model.
7. Be a mentor, not a master (boss) to your subordinates.
8. Don’t be bullyish.
9. Give proper guidances to your followers.
10. Garner their trusts in you.
These ten concepts are well-proven, for me, and could also gurantee those who practice them, to be successful and become good and respectful leaders in whatever profession they are serving in, and would be revered forever.


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