What does it take to be a leader?  How do you know if you are a leader or a boss?

It’s all about relationships.

A boss tells people what to do and uses fear to motivate them.  A leader identifies the needs of the organization and the people and invites people to work together. A successful leader does not have people afraid of him or her. There is no place for bullying in a leader.

Maria Montessori was a leader in the classroom.  She revolutionized education when she declared children are eager to learn.  She was given a classroom of 3-5-year-olds, who today would be called Special Needs children, and they outperformed all the “normal” classes. She taught that when children feel accepted, when their learning work is demonstrated and when they know they were not going to be criticized or ridiculed, they learned like blockbusters.

She looked at the whole child and modeled her faith in their curiosity and willingness to learn.  She taught them to be leaders by her modeling.

We all have a strong need to feel a part of something, to feel accepted, to belong.  A leader will look for ways to include the people they lead in decision making.   A leader will look for strengths in their people that can be identified and valued, and a leader will exhibit a belief in their ability to learn and accomplish projects.

We all need to laugh and have fun.  Maria Montessori was convinced that children wanted to learn and that learning is fun.  As an adult, I studied American Sign Language.  At first, I felt awkward and I didn’t think I could make my hands work that way, nor that I would be able to remember half of the signs I was being taught.  As I gained a little skill, I felt a great sense of achievement and realized I was having fun.

A leader looks for ways to make learning new skills fun and to make it fun to achieve goals. Whomever you are leading, ask yourself, “Are we, as a group, having fun together? Is there a spirit of being lighthearted in our group?  Or is everything terribly serious and scary?”

At one time, in my professional life, my mentor invited me to be a co-leader of a workshop with him as I arrived at the workshop.  While flattered, I was also mildly terrified.  He suggested that I lead the sections that he had seen me teach before, saying, “You know that better than I do.”  Again, I felt reassured that I would survive.  As we continued planning, I asked him, “Should I do it this way?  Or would it be better if I did it this way?”  and he responded, “I trust you.”

“I trust you,” is the most empowering phrase a leader can make.  I have found myself saying it to anyone I supervised or collaborated with.  Even if the actual result was not something I had expected, because I had developed a relationship and gave the other my trust, I discovered many new ways of getting things done.

Listen to the Interview with Sarah

Are You a Leader or a Boss?

Other Related Posts

Leadership and Interviews

Are You a Leader? – Sarah’s Interview on Big Blend Radio

What does it take to be a leader?  How do you know if you are a leader or a boss? It’s all about relationships. A boss tells people what to do and uses fear to motivate them.  A leader identifies the needs of the organization and the people and invites people to work...

Are You a Leader?

Leadership What does it take to be a leader?  How do you know if you are a leader or a boss? It’s all about relationships.  A boss tells people what to do and uses fear to motivate them.  A leader identifies the needs of the organization and the people and invites...

Dealing with Difficult Colleague – Sarah Elliston on Big Blend Radio

Check out Sarah Elliston's interview on Big Blend Radio Choose your preferred format below. Read the Article from Big Blend's Radio and TV Magazine. Read the Article from Big Blend's Radio Interactive Magazine Audio of Interview played from SoundCloud...

Are You in a Relationship with a Difficult Person?

Are You in a Relationship with a Difficult Person? Check out the interview on Big Blend Radio Read the Interview via an Interactive Magazine   Read the Interview via an Interactive Magazine on issuu website  

For The Difficult People Who Sometimes Never Know

Check out the interview from Aug 4th which was posted by the Literary Titan website.   Read the Interview on Literary Titan's website

Big Blend Radio: Are You a Difficult Person

Big Blend Radio: Are You a Difficult Person Article and Audio Interview Are You a Difficult Person?

Big Blend Radio: Planning a Family Vacation

Big Blend Radio: Planning a Family Vacation Article and Audio Interview What's Really, Really Important in a Family Vacation? Visit Parks & Travel Planner website with Article and Interview

Big Blend Radio: 8 Keys of Excellence

This episode of Big Blend Radio aired live on Aug. 11, 2017 and features a special panel discussion on the 8 Keys of Excellence, especially 7th Key of Excellence, “FLEXIBILITY – Be willing to do things differently. Recognize what’s not working and be...