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From boss to rational leader
Leadership Development

From boss to rational leader

Giuseppe Ando
March 15, 2024
From boss to rational leader | peopleHum

From boss to rational leader

A leader is not a boss. Agree. But where is the real difference? I propose a short analytical journey on the definitions of "boss", "leader" and "rational leader". Our journey begins with two fundamental questions:

  1. what's the difference between a boss and a leader?
  2. What does the rational leader have more than a "simple" leader? 

Let's start with the first question.  

  1. A boss has a one-way relationship with his employees.
  2. It gives orders or, at best, gives orders. It is a relationship based on the unverified assumption that the boss knows more and better how a job should be done. This is the approach that the British define as “ a know it all ”, we would say “I know everything”.
  3. A boss is much more inclined to communicate what he has decided and is completely disinterested in the opinion of his collaborators.
  4. Interpret the corporate hierarchy as a reflection of the objective value of people. The organization chart is the qualitative mirror of the value of those who belong to the organization. Whoever is higher in the hierarchy orders and whoever is lower executes.
  5. A leader is the reference for all doubts and interpretations. In case of indecision, it is he who provides the answer on what to do and how.
  6. A boss criticizes, recalls and verifies that the work of the subordinates complies with the instructions given.
  7. Stops any critical reflection on the part of his collaborators and encourages executive efficiency.
  8. He corrects the mistakes of collaborators in public, highlighting their weaknesses.
  9. He does not transfer his skills and is concerned about cultivating his ego, for which he is willing to pursue his own personal success at the expense of the interests of the organization. To carry out his project, he demands results without providing support, failing which he blames his collaborators.

And a leader?

  1. A leader is a person with an open mind and ready to learn new things.
  2. He tends to listen rather than speak.
  3. He is interested in gathering information and opinions, which he elaborates later.
  4. It seeks solutions and does not propose itself as the only reference for finding answers, but encourages its collaborators to formulate their proposals.
  5. It recognizes the skills and competences of its employees and motivates them to develop and express them.
  6. He is not afraid to point out his weaknesses, because he does not work to develop an unreal image of himself. He loves being authentic and credible, because he knows this is the best way to earn the trust of those around him.
  7. He deeply believes in teamwork.
  8. It assumes its responsibilities and is not afraid of exposing itself in favor of its collaborators.
  9. It feeds a climate of confidence towards the achievement of results.

Despite the clear differences between boss and leader, it is good to remember that both work towards achieving goals. The difference is that a leader achieves more and sooner. Now, however, we must answer the second question:

What does the "rational leader" have in more than a "simple" leader?

  1. The rational leader is a three-dimensional leader, who knows how to achieve the required performances, design future strategies and manage everything according to the canons of leadership.
  2. He manages his emotions and has reasonable control over them, at least in performing his role as a leader.
  3. He freed himself from prejudices and expresses thoughts free from conditioning (within the limits of the human).
  4. He is honest with himself and with others and analyzes situations as they actually are, without pretense or manipulation.
  5. Work on data and always look for information backed up by objective numbers or facts.
  6. A rational leader knows how and when to make intuitive and when rational decisions.
  7. A rational leader is aware that the decision-making process is the basis of his mandate and involves and motivates his collaborators to take an active part in this process.
  8. He knows how to manage a logically stringent communication and feeds a dialectical confrontation with his collaborators.
  9. After making a personal or shared decision, he proceeds methodically with the drafting of an action plan.

To make one's rational leadership concrete, one must undertake a path of personal and professional growth. To do this, we will focus on the main issues that a leader must address, framing them in specific models of "thought and action" (I apologize to the Risorgimento fathers). Needless to say, the term “models” is not referring to pre-established schemes to be implemented  sic et simpliciter . It is an ordered series of suggestions, to be understood in terms of the widest flexibility and adaptability. I only try to facilitate your task by proposing a working scheme.

Here is the list of themes:

  1. create and share their own vision, defining it in clear and understandable terms;
  2. manage one's own time and that of others ( Time Management ), according to the criteria of objectives and priorities;
  3. define the decision-making processes of the team;
  4. educate and educate oneself about planning;
  5. manage risks according to the criteria of reasonableness;
  6. manage and resolve conflicts;
  7. stimulate and manage change;
  8. stimulate creativity and innovation in the context of rational feasibility.

Our short journey through the definitions of "boss", "leader" and "rational leader" ends here, but the point I want to underline most is that performance, strategy and leadership are the components of the only viable and concretely expendable managerial model. in the real world.  

About the author

Giuseppe Ando is a C-Level & Executive Coach - Associate Partner at the acclaimed Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. With a career that presides at the crux of the Venn diagram of Passion, Skills, and Experience, Giuseppe’s reputation as top executive coach has spanned decades. Among his many accolades, he is also recognized for his unique ability to understand and inspire those he coaches to excel professionally and personally while also delivering their organization’s desired results.

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