Within the last few years the phrase “like a boss” has become quite popular among kids and adults alike. It is intended to lend more credibility and strength to one’s performance; thus, you hear sayings such as she makes decisions like a boss, he’s making boss moves etc. While this is obviously considered to be a compliment, in some circumstances – particularly, professional — it could have its drawbacks. Leading like a boss can sometimes result in loss. How is that possible? Simple. People are most productive when they feel they are working with you — not for you — and the term “boss” blatantly connotes superiority, which in turn implies the assignment of inferiority. Not even children enjoy being “bossed around,” so I am sure fully grown adults prefer not to be lorded. This style of leadership often leads to companies losing quality employees, hence the “loss.” In business, people are the greatest asset; it profits a business nothing to have a spectacular product or service if there are no people to sell and buy it. Therefore, it just makes good, business sense for a leader to channel as much energy into building relationships rather than hierarchical barriers.
Some better — less archaic — terms that can be used as replacements are, team leader, lead or manager. People appreciate being addressed and treated as equals, and that reality is evident from the very beginning of the exchange of communication.
Companies that have bought in to the idea of leading with an egalitarian, team approach have in turn experienced their employees buying in to the philosophy and work ethic of the company, thus displaying more pride in, loyalty towards and satisfaction with the company – resulting in greater levels of productivity. Proof of such results is exemplified in the company Kind — also known as Kind Healthy Snacks.
Kind’s website — http://www.kindsnacks.com/daniel-lubetzky/ — boasts that as the maker of nutritious and delicious snack foods, it is the fastest-growing U.S. snack company. In an online interview with Business Insider — http://www.businessinsider.com/kind-ceo-refuses-to-use-the-b-word-2014-6 — the company’s CEO and founder — Daniel Lubetzky — stated his views on utilizing the word “boss” in his company. Lubetzky told Business Insider, “I’ve never liked what that word connotes… words like “boss” can devalue the role of team members, when everyone has an equally important role to play.”
Kind was founded in 2004 and since has grown exponentially. Within its first 10 years the company’s product was sold in 80,000 locations and sales blossomed to $120 million. Quite the atypical results. Per Lubetzky’s Business Insider article, even he was surprised by the expedited growth of his company and product. The epicenter of Lubetzky’s business model seems to be people, his employees — whom he’s also made his partners — and building genuine relationship with them. This may be proof of just how much wiser, and lucrative, it is to lead from an egalitarian approach rather than superior. Leaders of stagnant companies, maybe you should take heed and change your paradigm. Instead of leading like a boss, maybe you should consider leading like an equal, or better yet, like a lover of people.