Who’s the Boss in the Team?

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When we examine the dynamics of team behaviour, there is still a large tendency to look for the Boss, the leader or the go to person. Some of us, as part of a team, are followers and some of us, as part of a team, are leaders and that is the nature of human life. But with the current trends of servant leadership, dynamic teams, self-organising and removing management to incorporate self-leadership, why do we still look for the boss or leader? Shouldn’t we all be ready to take that role and become our own boss. Defining reality is a huge part of leadership and a part of that reality is how we fit into organisations and interpret our role within those organisations. We are all inclined to follow a leader who is honest about the current situation you face as an organisation and a leader who will be optimistic but still realistic in situations we face. Once we get these characteristics, then our natural tendency is to look to those to lead and in turn they can assume the role of the ‘Team Boss’.

So when we look for the team boss, here are some of the qualities that we believe to part of this role:

  1. Values diverse opinions: – A Boss values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If you must repeat back the bosses opinion, you might argue that as an individual, you should start your own train of thought
  2. Cultivates a culture of trust: – People don’t meet to gossip. There is open and robust conversations that are facilitated and encouraged by the boss. Feedback is the golden ticket to success.
  3. Develops other leaders: – The replication factor is so important. It means teaching others to lead, providing opportunities for growth and demonstrating by example. That means the team boss is not always leading, but instead giving up power and deputising others to take over.
  4. Helps people with life issues (not just work issues): – It’s important to offer opportunities for personal development beyond the job. Asa boss figure, let’s say you run a company program to lose weight, or lower personal debt, or a class on etiquette. None of these may help an immediate corporate need, but each may be important to connect with the individuals and there needs
  5. Encourages: – The hallmark of a any boss or leader anywhere in the world is encouragement. And the more of a following you have, the more your own motto may be “Let’s go do it,” and not, “You go do it.”
  6. Sells instead of tells: – A Team Boss will always be respected when they take on the role of a facilitator which is the opposite of a dictator. It’s a style all about persuading, not commanding.
  7. Thinks “you,” not “me.”: There’s a selfless quality about a team boss. Someone who is thinking only, “How does this benefit me?” is disqualified. The vision is one of unity, togetherness and delivery.
  8. Thinks long-term: A team boss is thinking about the next generation, the next leader, the next opportunity. That means a tradeoff between what’s important today versus tomorrow, and making choices to benefit the future.
  9. Acts with humility: – The boss doesn’t wear a title as a way to show who’s in charge, doesn’t think he’s better than everyone else, and acts in a way to care for

So here are the qualities of a boss. These are individuals that are not always nominated or promoted. These are the individuals that are linked with leadership and have values that be subscribed to by those around them. You want to build trust with the people on the team you are dealing with. You also want to improve trust between individuals on the team (which is hard to do if the team doesn’t trust you yet). So hence the qualities of the boss are about developing the trust rather than demanding it.


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