By Liz Ryan
There is a huge difference between a strong leader and a weak, insecure manager. To be a leader, you have to use your voice. As nice as your boss is, it is very mean of her or him to stay silent when their team members are being mistreated by another manager.
Here are ten differences between strong leaders and weak managers:
1. Leaders don’t bash and belittle people. Weak managers do because they don’t have the confidence to have an honest and compassionate conversation about problems and solutions.
2. Leaders practice and role-model leadership behaviors. For instance, a manager can confront an employee and say “Cindy, you know your job and I’ve learned a lot from you. I need you to stop criticizing my employees. If you have a problem with something that happened in my department, come to me directly with it.” Weak managers keep quiet when people act inappropriately at work because they’re afraid to speak up although it is part of her job to do so.
3. Leaders operate in trust. Weak managers operate in fear. Sadly, a manager can’t help a employee with that problem because he or she is afraid to name the elephant in the room. No one is getting what they need and the issue isn’t even getting aired.
4. A Leader steps into scary situations. If your manager could just find enough courage to address this employee, they would shift the energy in your workplace for the better.
5. Leaders don’t let other people put them down — or put down anyone in their vicinity. Weak managers do. They pretend not to notice the bad behavior they see and hear around them because they’re afraid to confront it.
6. Leaders don’t yell, intimidate people or make snide comments. They encourage their employees and reinforce positive behaviors. Weak managers use the threat of force (e.g., termination) to make people bend to their will and keep them off guard.
7. Leaders are secure enough in themselves to address difficult situations forthrightly. Strong leaders feel the same fear we all feel, but they step through it. Weak managers can’t do that, so they ignore difficult situations until things fall apart.
8. Leaders build trust and teamwork around them. Weak managers build fear and competition around them to preserve their puny bureaucratic power base. The only real power a weak manager has is the power of the job title somebody else bestowed on them. Real leaders have personal power. They would be powerful with or without a fancy job title.
9. Leaders take care of other people and support them, honestly and compassionately. Weak managers wield their power over other people to control them.
10. Leaders take everything in stride. They might react to a situation or event with the same fearful or even panicky emotions anyone would feel, but they don’t act on those initial, panicky emotions. They take a few deep breaths, remember that we are only on this planet for a short time, and manage their way through difficult situations with grace and maturity. They keep their cool. Weak managers can’t stay calm. They are always ready to pounce and find fault because when they find fault with someone else it deflects the blame that might otherwise fall on them.
As published in Forbes.com / modified for LuciditySBM.com