Are You A Boss or A Leader?

leaderLeadership Ahead

Kimberly N. Alleyne
http://www.kimberlynalleyne.com

I read a great article on qualities that great bosses share. The author listed eight qualities, all of which I co-sign; but I got to thinking that there are significant differences between an individual who is merely a boss or manager, and one who is a leader.

Here’s what I mean:

It’s easy for someone who is clever at directing processes, gifted at project management, and adept at organizing details. Sure. But can that same person rally a team to exceed goals? To glamorize the active pursuit of individual improvement for the betterment of the person, team and organization? Or to keep morale up when the organization faces financial crises? Or to inspire others to believe in themselves? No, not necessarily.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked for bosses, those whom were unremarkable (dreadful in some cases); and I’ve worked for leaders— those whom imprinted my life and made me professionally and personally richer. I’ve learned something from each of them, be it in the form of qualities I found admirable and incorporated in my own leadership style, or qualities that I knew I’d always strive to avoid.

As a result of my experiences I am fascinated with leadership approaches, especially as I navigate my own ride on the corporate elevator. As a leader, I consistently hunt ways to improve, particularly as it relates to leading people–that’s hugely important to me. The fact is not everyone is not gifted to lead people. Meeting team goals and organizational objectives are not open for compromise, of course. But when it comes to my team, how do I get it right? What works? How do I influence a team, its members individually and collectively, with lasting impact?

The leadership styles I have been exposed to have been are varied. And what I have noted is while there are many avenues to get to an end point, there are traits that separate bosses from leaders.

Boss versus leader

Olivier Carré-Delisle

  1. Leaders get in the game, they don’t sit on the sideline while their teams toil away. They push and pull with their teams.
  2. Leaders don’t hover or micromanage; they give others space to dream, create and execute. They give others freedoms to shine, to step up, or sometimes, to fall.
  3. Leaders inspire others to do what they think they cannot do.
  4. Leaders do not paint with a broad brush or only with one color. They lead others based on individual needs, strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Leaders groom their bench for growth. If a  leader is not preparing an individual/team for the next step up, she or he is doing them a disservice.
    Black Enterprise Favorited My Tweet
  6. Leaders understand that’s it not a solo show, it’s a team performance.
  7. Leaders give credit and celebrate others’ accomplishments.
  8. Leaders are honest, transparent and fair.
  9. Leaders understand that leadership is an eternal journey of learning, growing and adjusting.
  10. Leaders dream in color and dream big, but build in ample opportunity for course correction.
  11. Leaders are confident, but they know they’re not always right, and that they don’t always know the answer. They admit their mistakes—quickly.
  12. Leaders know that leadership is a gift, and they embrace it with respect, humility and honor.

 

Dr MLK

Leaders inspire–and lead–movements.

In the vast universe of leadership, there are inevitable twists and turns, ups and downs. Each ebb and flow is a mere dot point, not the final destination. There is always space to be better. Always. And a title is not necessarily a mark of leadership—if no one is following, or wants to follow—then it’s not leadership…yeah, not so much.

Are you a boss or a leader?

Great PageTurners on Leadership:

  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell
  • The Power of Positive Thinking (The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking), Norman Vincent Peale
  • Great on the Job (What to Say, How to Say It, The Secrets of Getting Ahead), Jodi Glickman
  • Bringing Out the Best in People (Aubrey C. Daniels)
  • Strengths Based Leadership (Tom Rath, Barry Conchie)

 

 

My Week in Twitter — Thanks #BECornerOffice!

These Twitter activity recaps are great. Not a bad week:

My Week in Twitter_8.22These numbers were boosted by participating in an @blackenterprise #BECornerOffice Twitter chat with @EarlButchGraves. Great #leadership insights! I’ve already calendared the next one, which is scheduled for 9/8 with the 1st African American winner of “The Apprentice.”

Looking forward! Twiiter

Great Social PR: #Every Main Street

Every Main Street 2Our Great Social PR features highlight great public relations or media campaigns that utilize social media to amplify awareness and calls to action. This post highlights the #Every Main Street campaign presented by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO).

AEO is the national trade association for U.S. microbusiness and microfinance. The D.C.-anchored nonprofit and its 400-member and partner network provide research and market insights about microbusiness, and advocate for policies that deliver capital solutions to #Main Street.

Background: Each weekday, 8,000 requests for business loans are declined. Accessing capital and business support services is a particular challenge for America’s 25.5 million microbusiness owners, who often need “micro” capital–amounts less than $250,000. Because microbusinesses make a substantial contribution to employment (41.3 million jobs in 2011), systemic roadblocks to capital–such as 8,000 daily loan declines–impacts job creation. Read more about capital access for microbusinesses here.

“In the land of the great American Dream, 8,000 daily business loan denials are symptomatic of a massive market failure. Our analysis shows it’s a failure to deliver an estimated $44 billion to $52 billion in critical capital to Main Street. Each time business owners are denied requests for capital, it hinders their ability to start, grow or hire,” says Connie Evans, AEO president and CEO.

 

What’s great: AEO uses a different photo every two weeks to capture the vibrancy and diversity of Main Street USA. They’re also asking folks to submit photos of the Main Streets where they live. Very cool, right?!

Key message: #Every Main Street needs fair and affordable access to capital.

Call-to-action: Like, Re-tweet, and Re-post the #EveryMainStreet photo on Facebook and Twitter using the #EveryMainStreet hash tag.

Campaign Goal: Increase awareness of the need for equitable and affordable capital and services. Metrics: likes, re-tweets, comments, shares, requests for information and photo submissions.

We’ll check in soon with Matt Crandall, AEO’s marketing manager, to learn how the campaign is going. Meanwhile, you can join AEO’s #EveryMainStreet campaign here: @aeoworks and https://www.facebook.com/AEO.

 

Let me know what you think about the #Every Main Street campaign.

Every Main Street1

 

Top 10: Why Writers Need Social Media

Kimberly N. Alleyne
http://www.kimberlynalleyne.com

Facebook with HashtagTwiiterLinkedIn-InBug-2CRev

 

I recall a conversation with a former colleague who adamantly proclaimed that Twitter was a rapidly evaporating fad soon to be six-feet under. That convo was in 2010. I was like, “Really? You think Twitter is dying? Wait, what now?”

Clearly Twitter is still standing, and it’s in good company with a host of other social media. Though not a few platforms have emerged since the digital era dawned only to die a slow, or quick, death, many more are thriving, with great vital signs. Here are my top 10 reasons writers should make use of some of them:

1.  Trigger Creativity–Being an active socializer in the digital space can spark creativity in fresh ways. I really enjoy Pinterest and Instagram. I’ve often been inspired to step out of my comfort zone, if not in my writing then in some personal way, which is never a bad thing. See #7.

2. Build your network– I landed one of my best freelance assignments to date via someone I asked to join my LinkedIn network. A caution to be intentional about the connections you pursue. Don’t connect at abandon— make sure there is potential for value-add to both parties, and not a one-sided connection. There are other options to LinkedIn. I am on a journalism list serve for example.

3. Find story ideas–Whatever your personal or professional interests are, they likely have real estate on the Internet. Even a cursory review of your preferred platform can bubble up story ideas, new angles for something you’re already writing about, or new angles on a current topic. For one example, how might you write about #Ferguson or #James Foley in ways that have not already been presented?

4. Build your brand–Social affords a great platform on which to showcase your expertise. Don’t be shy; despite the crowded online environment, each voice has a unique perspective. You never know who might benefit from your experience, so get out there! Check out Sccop It and Rebel Mouse; these are both great thought-leadership tools.

RebelMouse logo

5. K.I.S.S.–Keep It Short Scribe. When you’re writing for an audience with a short attention span, it forces you to embrace brevity. Unless you’re a long-form zealot (like me), writing short–read concise and succinct–is always good form.

6. Diversity of opinion–Social allows individuals to trumpet their beliefs and ideologies, but whether you agree or disagree is less important than exposing yourself to new ideas and perspectives, which ultimately raises the level of your writing. Go on, expand your vocabulary of ideas.

7. Confidence booster–Exposing yourself to an audience strangers is good for building your writing confidence. More likely than not, there will be feedback. Pick out the bones and keep the meat. Own your writing DNA. The more you do, the more your confidence will grow.

8. Stay in touch– The marriage of new and traditional media and communications has been consummated. And this ain’t a Hollywood marriage, folks.  There’s no need to be on every available platform, but you do need to get in the game. Pick what you want to use and how you want to use it. Whatever your choice, be consistent. I use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for professional branding and networking. I use Tumblr for personal interests such as running and baking.

Tumblr

9. Need for Speed–Using social forces me to write more quickly. One can post a comment, pic or tweet in a matter of seconds, or not more than a minute. When you’re engaged in the social space, you gotta write fast to keep up, and stay relevant and in the conversation.

10. Diversify, diversify–When I post a press release on Twitter, I am confined to 140 characters. When I post the same press release on LinkedIn, the word/character count is less restrictive, but standards for language style are far different. There are two reasons for this: platform audience and platform personality. What’s acceptable on one platform is not necessarily embraced on another. Social media make you mindful to cater your writing to different audiences and platform personalities.

 

What social media do you use? What tips would you add to this list?

 

Write on.