How to Lead and Avoid Being a Boss
By Michelle Symonds
Many people aspire to be leaders. They are not happy and will not stop until they have reached the top of their game. For some people, leadership comes naturally, while for others further measures must be taken to achieve their goals, such as going on project management courses. However you get there, once in a position of leadership there are many advantages to acting as a leader, rather than the boss.
Here are some strategies to use so that you can become a leader without being the boss:
The most underrated communication skill is listening. People usually think that to get noticed in the workplace, they need to make constant verbal contributions. Leaders also often make the mistake of thinking it is only what they say or do that makes them a good leader. However, listening plays an important role in being a leader. It is this skill that is likely to gain you the most respect from colleagues. Also, by listening to what others say, you will be on the receiving end of innovative ideas and creative thinking that may improve the overall function of the team.
Adapt Your Approach
Different situations require different approaches. A good leader is capable of being flexible and adapting their approach, rather than being rigid in their actions. Inflexibility and an unwillingness to adapt can put you very much in the position of being a bad boss rather than a great leader.
Share Your Knowledge and Skills
A good leader will help others and make the most of a team by transferring their skills and knowledge to their employees and colleagues. Help your employees to reach their full potential by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and using your own strengths to improve their skills. If appropriate, set up some project management training to support your employees in learning new skills that may help them progress in your workplace.
Let Other Leaders Lead
If you are in a position where there are other team leaders or project managers below you, then it is important to let them do their jobs. You may be in a higher position, but they have been promoted to leadership positions for a reason. This is usually because they have the knowledge, experience and skills to do the job. Remember this and let them get on with it; they do not need you undermining their decisions or taking over their roles.
As a leader, it is important to know when you are at fault. Everyone makes mistakes so accept this. Do not try to apportion blame to other members of the team if an action was your decision. Your colleagues will have much more respect for you as their leader if you accept responsibility, rather than seeing you as the boss who finds a scapegoat.
Even though you are a leader, you do not have to be seen as the boss, a label that sometimes has negative connotations. By following these tips and using your soft skills and your project management skills appropriately, you can get the respect of your team so that you can achieve greater success in your projects.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.