Dec 142010

Before we begin to discuss being a leader, we probably should define what a leader is.  This is important because there can be a distinction between being a “boss” and being a “leader”. 

Your position may define you as a boss, which provides you with the authority to accomplish tasks and objectives.  This authority does not define you as a leader, however.  It simply makes you the boss.  Leaders can be defined as a person who influences others to accomplish the tasks and objectives.   A leader makes others want to achieve the tasks and goals they are given.

That isn’t to say that leaders don’t have tasks to perform.  It is just that when they do have tasks they often use the following three “C”s to keep projects running smoothly.  There may be others that are important, but we will just discuss these three for now.

  • Communicate
  • Coordinate
  • Collaborate


A “Boss” may have important information.   Having this information may also make them feel important.  How you use the information or what you do with it can make you a “Leader”    The challenge is the sharing of important information.  Other employees may not be eager to share information with someone they don’t know well or do not trust. 

Leaders must work hard at establishing good lines of communication.  Communication helps everyone agree on roles within the organization, the tasks to be accomplished, the time lines to get projects out the door, learning what the customer wants and describing that need to others, and listening to what is being said. 


A “Boss” may just give an employee an assignment and assume it will be accomplished.  A “Leader” will coordinate the completion or hand-off of a project/task with those who can best accomplish the goals.  They know their people and realize who works best in what area.  They don’t just hand an employee a task, they delegate the authority to the employee to get the job done.


A “Boss” may not want to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.  They may not want to get their hands dirty as they may believe the job is not theirs to do.  A “Leader” understands that collaboration requires working side-by-side to meet the goals and objectives of the organization.  Leaders use their collaborative skills to achieve significant accomplishments and they understand, appreciate, and leverage the differences in their people to produce the greatest solutions for complex challenges.

The three “C”s cannot be effectively used, however, unless you have built a solid foundation on TRUST.  The relationships that Leaders build form the foundation upon which a company flourishes.  Leaders understand that by knowing their employees, they know who they can count on to get the job done.  

There are trust builders and trust busters.  Look at the following list and see where you are in building your leadership.

Builders                                                                                          Busters

  • Share needed information                                                     Sharing Confidential Information
  • Loyal                                                                                               Giving information to outsiders
  • Acceptance of others                                                               Withholding information
  • Valuing others                                                                             Vague instructions
  • Awareness of what is happening                                          Hidden agendas
  • Openness                                                                                        Fear tactics
  • Honesty                                                                                          Public criticism or embarrassment


And remember, the deepest foundation builder for developing leaders is good communication!

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  12 Responses to “How to be an effective leader”

  1. Nice post Lola! While there are many factors that affect whether an individual is an effective leader or not, these are three very important ones. You also make a critical distinction between guiding the behaviors of others via influence vs. authority that cannot be understated.

    I have included your post in my Rainmaker ‘Fab Five’ blog picks of the week ( to share your thoughts with my readers.

    Be well!
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  2. I believe that to be a leader, a part of the things you mention, we must be especially humble. There are many people who have the ability to be leaders in life, but due to their lack of humility is not.

  3. Execellent post showing the difference between BOSS & LEADER…but this is what leader is- the point you mentioned are top quality of successful LEADERS…The GREAT 3 “C” are very much NEDEED in LEADER…but if these 3 points are also in BOSS then he/she would become BOTH boss and leader too….

  4. Great points Lola. I’ve always found that effective leaders know how to bring out the best in their employees and let them shine. As you indicate, communication is key, especially the ability to listen to one’s employees to determine what they do well and help them grow and succeed. It’s easy to boss people around but quite another thing to lead them, or to go a step farther, have them lead themselves.

  5. This is very good post. I admire that concept of 3 c’s which differentiate Leader & Boss. To have good leadership qualities is very necessary. Good leader is that who properly communicate with employees & motivate them to take active participation in every activity & lead them properly. The points discussed in this article are informative & appreciable. Thanks for sharing this. keep It Up !!
    Van Hire Sheffield recently posted..Choose the Right Van Hire Service in SheffieldMy Profile

  6. There are certainly a number of distinctions between a boss and a leader and you have hit them all. It would make an interesting follow up post as to where a boss or leader may be more effective at getting certain tasks/goals accomplished.

  7. I agree with Katie. Many people are good to be leaders, but not many have humility enough.
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  8. Very good article and is practiclly applicable, thanks!

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  10. Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying the blogs. I will do my best to keep them coming and to be relevant.

  11. There are certainly a number of distinctions between a boss and a leader and you have hit them all. It would make an interesting follow up post as to where a boss or leader may be more effective at getting certain tasks/goals accomplished.

  12. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality as what Warren G. Bennis. Have the confidence in yourself to know that you can do it. Confidence is a new form of communication for some. A true leader has humility. Get help if you need it. As a leader, people are willing to help us but we turn them down. Do not turn help down especially free help from family and friends you can trust.

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