In a recent HBS working paper, Linda Hill, Harvard business school professor and author of the widely read, Becoming a Manager, discusses her latest book, Being the Boss. She outlines three imperatives for managers including self management, team management and network management. Hill also critiques relying on formal authority as a management technique. I look forward to reading her new book and in the meantime, give some thought to what it means to be a boss versus a manager versus or leader.
The word "boss" has always bothered me. It isn't encouraging and seems somewhat dismissive. Perhaps this is because I've heard too many "bosses" use phrases like "because I'm the boss" or ask "who is the boss" rhetorically when their authority is questioned.
It takes only a title to be a boss. To be a manager, you must have a philosophy of team building and development, and work to create an environment that breeds success. To be a leader, you must additionally have a compelling vision and a glowing energy or attractive force made possible by your love of and respect for the "game" and your "players". In the latter two cases, formal authority is rarely, if ever used.
In addition to a compelling vision and motivational style, a strong leader engages his team in creating goals and expectations. When these are co-created versus handed down, "buy in", or true commitment is possible. Once there is a clear game plan, a leader creates a measurement and rewards system, and processes for providing and receiving regular constructive feedback. A strong leader encourages and models integrity, open communication, respect and commitment. She celebrates successes and seeks to gain knowledge from failure versus judge or over react. She works with humility, understanding and empathy, but balances these humanist values with strong business focus. And most of all, she is always learning, seeking to improve her understanding, skill and knowledge base.
About our blog
Commentary on all things marketing and more.