Daily Herald June 22, 1991
It may seem easy and best to act like a boss when dealing with people. As a boss, you see yourself as being in power, and having control. You see others as being subservient to you. If you rely heavily on coercion, force, intimidation or threats, you'll do a great job of bossing people around. But, these negative types of human behavior are based on manipulating others. You control them to get them to comply. Compliance is different from motivation. It's not easy to motivate people if you boss them. Fear may motivate people for a while, but you won't get much co-operation. People may give in to you for the time being, even if it's only to save their hide. But once the pressure is off, they'll likely not only stop co-operating, but may sabotage you if they get the chance. Bossing focuses on ends to be achieved. It sees people merely as a means to get what you want. Bossing creates subservience, anger, resentment, and occasionally rebellion.
Leaders motivate people, instead of intimidating them. Instead of orders, leaders give goals and objectives. Instead of laying down the law, saying "You do it my way or else", they encourage people to develop their own ways to meet objectives and goals. Leaders see other people as their greatest resource. A leader's goal is to motivate people and enlist their co-operation and ownership of the leader's goals and objectives. Leaders trust people and reinforce them. Leaders risk by investing in others, and it usually pays off. Leaders earn and gain respect. Bosses try to demand it, but seldom get it. Leaders back up their employees or group members. Bosses blame them. Leaders accept the ultimate responsibility for the tasks they delegate to others. Bosses try to pin the rap on others to save their own skin.
In voluntary organizations, such as service clubs, community clubs, sports organizations or church groups, the quickest way to lose volunteers is to boss them around. We also need more leadership in two other important places in our lives: at work and in our family homes.
Business has learned that leadership is more productive and profitable than bossing. The more that employees own the responsibility for what happens to their company, the harder and better they work, and the quicker they shape up anyone else who isn't. This is quite different from a company where an employee who does any work beyond the informal quota is harassed by his or her co-workers.
We need to use effective leadership in our family homes. Bossing can lead to emotional, social or even physical abuse, towards spouses or children. Leadership leads to shared responsibility and working towards common goals. Many couples have to give up bossing and become leaders towards each other in order for their marriage to survive. Families quickly find that bossing doesn't work. It only creates crisis and rebellion. Leadership that is shared by parents and children in a home is the best way to develop effective and healthy family living.