I recently commenced a regular column for the business section of my local newspaper. They asked me to write about leadership. When the column appeared in the paper it was accompanied by a large photo of Bruce Springsteen rocking it out. The photo did a great job of attracting attention to the column, which I’m sure ultimately meant that more people read it. (These newspaper people know what they’re doing apparently.)
Now, for anyone under 30 years of age, Bruce Springsteen is a rock and roll legend, colloquially know as ‘The Boss’. I smiled when I saw the photo as I had no idea it was going to be there. I was intrigued by the conclusion that the news editor had drawn – leadership column, about being the boss, photo of Springsteen. In addition to this, I had several emails, text messages and conversations with people who had read the article and liked it and they all commented about the photo. “Well done, what a great idea” they said. I confessed that I had nothing to do with the photo, but it got me thinking. Why do people think boss when they think leadership?
In my mind boss and leader have different connotations. A boss is bossy, arrogant, pushy, demanding, uncaring. A leader is understanding, open, inspiring, has vision and cares about relationships.
Could it be that leading others is made harder because people don’t differentiate between boss and leader? Does thinking that they will be like a boss stop people from wanting to lead?
Are you boss or leader? What can you do to be more of a leader?
PS: Dictionary.com says the origin of the word boss is from the Dutch word baas which means master.