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Be a Leader, Not a Boss and Other Advice for New Managers

AHP Staff
Published:  05/24/2018

Be a leader, not a boss

Knowing the difference between a boss and a leader is integral to optimizing your staff’s performance. A boss drives employees, depends on authority, inspires fear, says “I,” takes credit, commands, and says “go.” A leader coaches employees, depends on goodwill, generates enthusiasm, says “we,” gives credit, asks, and says “let’s go.” A boss knows how it’s done, but a leader shows how it’s done.

Build good character

Great leaders have the power to increase their employees’ engagement. If you have good character, and the people in your shop have good character, your team will stick together longer and be more effective. Recruit talent who will be on board and engaged with your mission.

Align your goals

You and your prospective hires need to agree on three things: integrity, hard work and collaboration. Align your goals and incentivize compensation with your employees to promote collaboration. Showing you value your staff will go a long way to improving your team’s productivity.

Invest in professional development

In the last 10 years, 501(c)(3) organizations have grown by 16 percent. The social sector dramatically underinvests in leadership development when compared with the private sector. Per employee, nonprofits spend around $29 annually per employee on leadership development. The private sector spends $120 annually per employee on leadership development. Provide inexpensive leadership development opportunities for all levels of staff. Give your staff greater responsibility, more opportunity for public speaking or an invitation to join high-level meetings.

Lead by example

See yourself as your staff sees you. Figure out how you communicate. Subtle language can make a huge impact on how the people you manage interpret your message. Be cognizant of how your messaging might be perceived by your team. Lead your team with love — when they know you really care about them, they are likely to work harder for you and your organization.


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