March 31, 2010

Who's The Boss?

It's not uncommon for these two terms to be taken as synonymous, but I think there's a subtle difference that we need to understand.

Bosses motivate from their positional authority.

Leaders motivate from their relational connections.

Maybe I've oversimplified a little bit, but not by much. Bosses know they have leverage because their position in the organization says so. Meanwhile, leaders know that their followers have a choice as to whether or not to follow them. When a leader begins to operate more as a boss, he or she is expending that precious relational capital that he or she has been building with those he or she leads. Effective leaders understand that having positional authority isn't enough. They understand that in order to really lead & motivate others there has to be an ongoing relational connection built on trust, integrity, mutual submission, & love. When those things begin to erode, leadership erodes. How can someone follow a leader that he cannot trust? How can a person follow the leader that she doesn't feel a sense of love & concern from?

The differences may be subtle, but the effects won't be. Leaders who act more like bosses will lose followers because following is a choice.

What are the implications for this idea in your life? At work? In your church? In your home?

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