You Won’t Quit a Leader: Four Points on the Difference Between Being the Boss, and Being a Leader

Tom Walter Leadership

Tom Walter is a “serial entrepreneur” who has launched nearly 30 companies. He is the CEO of Tasty Catering, named one of Winning Workplaces best small companies in 2010. This post is republished with permission from Serial Entrepreneur.

High performance companies aren’t run by managers. No one wants to be managed. To be managed is to be subservient. High performance organizations are run by Leaders!

The saying goes that people do not quit a job, they quit a boss. That may be true, especially if that “boss” is a manager, but rarely will anyone quit a leader.

The History of Management:

Management is a rather new business term.
There was a need for managers in the late 19th century as the industrial revolution evolved. The typical craftsman program with the preliminary steps of apprentice and journeymen did not fit the business model of industrialization. Managers were needed to ensure tasks were done promptly and properly.

A thought that was espoused during the industrial revolution was to maximize the work force with the cheapest possible rewards. That approach led to the growth of unions which were effective in protecting workers rights.

However, some very intelligent people have countered the idea of “managing people”. Since the days of Aristotle, philosophers have known that appealing to the workers intellect and satisfying their needs was critical for workers to reach maximum productivity. When intellectual and physical needs were satisfied, then discretionary thinking on how to better the organization would emerge.

The Leader

Leaders are watched and listened to and they seldom receive feedback regarding their actions and leadership style. How can they become a better leader without good insightful constructive criticism?

Jim Collins, in the book Good to Great, states that Level 5 Leaders (the highest level) look outside to others when praise for the organization is earned and look into the mirror when criticism of the organization is earned. They respect others for achievements and are in turn, respected by their staff.

The greatest tool in the leader’s tool box is respect and in that light the following must be clearly understood in order to gain that level of regard:

  • A leader’s title demands respect;
  • The leader must personally earn respect on a daily basis;
  • Respect is earned by strictly adhering to the company’s core values and culture statement;
  • Respect is maintained by practicing the traditional golden rule of “Do onto others as you would have others do onto you” – not the new golden rule “He who has gold rules.”

Once you understand how respect is earned and not demanded you can further implicate the following 4 steps for effective leadership to gain a full grasp on why people won’t quit a leader:

  1. Anticipate – anticipate the needs of your staff, and where ever possible, satisfy them. This will not only increase productivity and focus more of their discretionary thinking on enhancing the organization; they will also focus on anticipating the needs of your clients and the organization. Anticipatory leaders lead their staff; reactionary leaders are led by their staff.
  2. Communicate – listen to your staff. What do their eyes and body motions say? Allowing them to easily communicate will free their brain of disruptors such as projection, fear, anxiety and mistrust. After listening, speak honestly and clearly. The leader or the organization may not be able to satisfy everything that is communicated, but clearly worded explanations to their thoughts are what is expected.
  3. Delegate – explain in detail, the expectations for each staff member, to that staff member. At the same time, explain how their work will benefit the organization and then return to benefit them. Define their responsibilities clearly. They need to know what they do on a daily basis matters.
  4. Motivate – never manipulate. Pay and benefits should address the needs of the worker. Recognition and rewards are the motivators that lead to self-actualization wherein the staff member become the best they can be. The reward system starts with a simple heartfelt thank you. It can then escalate to company wide praise, special recognition ceremonies and for really great accomplishments, the worker’s family should be included in the recognition.
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