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Are you a boss or a leader?

by Guest Writter
Craig W. Ross, CEO & President, Verus Global

Beware: Those on your exec team may be masquerading as leaders. They may be unaware that, in reality, they are behaving as bosses. You might have a team of bosses on your hands—and if you do, you could be one as well.

Successful companies thrive under great leadership. However, when serving at the helm of an organization it can be easy to get caught up in everyday transactional tasks—emails, meetings, budgets—leaving leadership a lower priority on the to-do list.  Unfortunately, this can turn want-to-be leaders into bosses. You know you’re a boss when…

  • Others need you to get work done
  • You have to tell or remind people what level you’re at in the organization
  • The best ideas are your ideas
  • You get uncomfortable when you see lists like this one

But, all is not lost. The shift back from boss to leader can happen quickly and help your organization better meet strategic goals.

Activate potential

Effective leaders believe that organizations have tremendous potential because people have tremendous potential. This potential should be activated and encouraged by creating an open environment that inspires self-expression and where individuals matter not simply because of what they can do, but also because of who they can be. Through fostering this environment, team members will go on to activate greatness in each other with a renewed commitment to themselves, their team, and to meeting shared goals.

Change the discussion

Embracing the human potential within a company and activating that potential are two different acts. The next step is to start asking questions with greater leverage. When we ask certain types of questions we activate focus and a higher level of thinking. In order to deliver true excellence and trigger potential, leaders can ask specific questions—or Long Lever Questions—that elevate, inspire, and connect with purpose. For example, consider the difference between asking, “what do you think?” versus “what do you think we should do first, to ensure that we meet our customer’s objective?” The first question, one that most of us have likely asked during a team meeting, is not necessarily a bad question. However, the second question can help the meeting, the team, and ultimately the company, be more productive.

Step Forward

Once you have activated your team’s potential with Long Lever Questions, let the magic happen—stepping forward to serve as facilitator when needed. This act of empowering your teams differentiates you as a leader rather than a boss. Your power of influence is now being used to equip teams to solve problems and meet goals by working together to realize their full potential.

Now that you are armed with this set of questions to determine if you are a boss and dedicated to applying these tips, you can empower yourself and your exec team to become stronger leaders.


About the Author

Craig Ross is the CEO and president of Verus Global. Verus Global equips inspired leaders to activate the human potential in their organizations through talent and leadership development. For more than a decade, Craig has partnered with C-Suite executives, leaders, and teams elevating performance within global organizations and Fortune 100 companies. His understanding of current business trends and needs allows Craig to deliver innovative leadership strategies, equipping organizations to activate leaders, teams, and employees to meet their full potentialLearn more about Craig Ross and Verus Global.

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