School Business Affairs May 2020

38 MAY 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS management briefcase Twelve characteristics of effective leaders. Are You a Leader or a Boss? By Nan Wodarz, Ed.D. T he success of an organization depends on the effectiveness of the management team; the manage- ment team’s effectiveness is con- tingent on the team leader’s ability to lead rather than boss. What’s the difference between a leader and a boss? The following are the 12 most identified characteristics of effective leaders. 1. Leaders manage stress with con- fidence. Leaders react to stress with calmness and certainty. They leverage their emotions to improve rather than exacerbate a situation. They can read emotional cues from others. 2. Leaders are purpose driven. Leaders focus on sustainable solutions rather than quick, short-term fixes. True leaders focus on “what’s right—not what’s right now.” 3. Leaders know how to delegate. A boss may feel insecure entrusting tasks to others for a variety of reasons, such as an inability to give up control, a desire to be the one who “saves” the team, or simply a fear of failure. Effective leaders are secure in their abilities and hire those in whom they have confidence and to whom they are comfortable handing off projects with the appropriate level of supervision. 4. Leaders know when to break the rules. Bosses may take the safe route and respond to issues based on the contents of a policy manual. Leaders understand that some circumstances require them to make decisions that are not aligned with the manual and to adjust their approach for the good of the individual, team, and organization. 5. Leaders create a followership. Leaders inspire team members and create long-term relationships. For example, when a leader leaves the organization, colleagues who want to continue the relationship fol- low that leader to the next position. Such followership demonstrates hard-won, authentic leadership. 6. Leaders have a high emotional quotient. Understanding how behaviors, feelings, attitudes, and motivations affect morale and productivity is an attribute of leadership. A boss might be sympathetic, but a leader is empathetic. 7. Leaders create new leaders. Bosses focus on retaining control and power; lead- ers focus on the future of the organization and the talent within. Exceptional leaders can identify talent and will take the time to mentor the next class of leaders. 8. Leaders do not provide all the answers. Bosses might provide critical feedback, but leaders show people how to enhance their skills and initiate conversa- tions that help them analyze how to make the district better. Sometimes, the leader does not provide the answers and allows team members to fail, but the true leader provides a safety net for them during the learning process. 9. Leaders know how to do the job on their own. Although bosses direct oth- ers to perform tasks, leaders have the skills and knowledge to perform those tasks, which gives them the ability to understand the intricacies of the tasks that need to be completed. Leaders who can leverage their knowledge and mentor others are able to collaborate with team members, not merely to delegate tasks. 10. Leaders are the best team play- ers. A boss might appear like the Lone Ranger, solve a problem, then disappear until the next crisis. A leader works side by side with the team and shares responsibility with the team; this approach pays dividends ANNELEVEN.COM/STOCK.ADOBE.COM