Leadershhip Is More Than Leading; It Is At Times, Letting Others Lead

What’s the difference between a boss and a leader?
According to Barry Kaplan and Jeff Manchester, authors of  The Power of Vulnerability, “The boss is the person who owns the ultimate decision.”
They add, “He or she is accountable for a particular decision.
In a management team, the boss may be the functional expert that has authority over a specific domain. The CFO is the boss over accounting issues. The HR Director is responsible for employee-related issues. The COO will have final say on product delivery. The President or CEO will have the final decision about key areas of strategy and other management issues that have reached a stalemate between department heads.
A leader can be anyone on the team—anyone, including the boss. That’s because everyone has something to offer. Leaders bring their power to the team—their voice that shares their ideas, opinions, and concerns. Everyone who exercises his or her personal power in this way is a leader.
Most of us have been caught in the cultural context of hierarchical organizational models. Some of us may have been exposed to an organizational model based on more of a matrix. Both of these have implied leadership roles, based on position. Obviously different responsibilities come with different positions. But a work team is like a football team: each position has its roles and responsibilities.
You may be under the impression that if you don’t have people reporting to you, then you are NOT a leader. That’s just not true! Even if your role does not require you to have people reporting to you, you are still a leader. You are in your organization for a reason. You are giving your life energy and skills to your company. You are meant to bring all that you have to the team, and operate at the peak of your abilities. In this way, you are absolutely a leader!
While the boss may have the final decision, you owe it to yourself— and your team—to bring all that you have to discussions and meetings. There are many times where management team members wait for the boss to take the lead or defer to his/her direction without completely expressing their views. That shift can begin with any leader on a team, not just the hierarchal boss. Anyone who is in his or her power can play a leadership role. When you are in your power and truly own it, you step into your individual leadership and speak your truth, disrupt the toxic rhythm, and inspire others to follow outside their comfort zone.
Neither the organization nor the boss can grant you the power of the leadership that is already inside you. You must give yourself permission to exercise your power as a leader. Anytime you withhold your ideas, opinions, or viewpoints, you’re not only cheating yourself, but you’re cheating your team. The most effective bosses know that the best team is one filled with leaders.

Adapted from The Power of Vulnerability:  How To Create A Team Of Leaders By Shifting INward (Greenleaf Book Group Press) by Barry Kaplan and Jeff Manchester.  Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Kaplan and Jeff Manchester.  All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.