Good Boss Bad Boss

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Have you ever had a really good boss and/or a really ‘bad’ boss?

Have you wondered or made the distinction between the two? What actually makes a good leader and role model?

In my early career I worked in an organisation that had many managers. Some would suggest today too many! I worked closely with two, and could not have had a more different experience and relationship with them.Go through the roof!

In terms of the first one (let’s call them the ‘good’ boss), I found myself actively listening to what they said, bouncing ideas and concepts off them and even modelling my behaviour on theirs.

At the time I didn’t understand why, but, for the ‘bad boss’, I’d find myself switching off (I may have nodded off once during a teleconference!), avoiding contact and doing the bare minimum when completing tasks for them.

Now, I understand my experience was a result of the leadership styles my bosses used. It’s the difference between Transformational Leaders and Transactional Leaders, a key concept covered in the Australis BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management.

Transformational leaders inspire their followers to change and work towards common goals and objectives. They do this by gaining the trust, admiration, and respect of their followers, with the success of the leader being measured by the impact on his/her followers.

The theory identifies 4 different components of transformational leadership:

  1. Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders challenge and encourage creativity among their team members and encourage them to explore new ways of doing things and provide new opportunities to learn.
  2. Individualised Consideration – Transformational leadership offers support and encouragement to individual staff members. It fosters supportive relationships and keeps lines of communication open so that staff are able to share ideas and receive direct recognition for their contributions.
  3. Inspirational Motivation – Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to their team. These leaders are also able to motivate staff to experience the passion and motivation required to fulfil goals.
  4. Idealised Influence – The transformational leader serves as a role model to the staff. Staff learn to trust, respect, and strive to emulate their leader by internalising the leader’s ideals.On the other hand, transactional leaders believe that staff are motivated by rewards or punishments. Rewards demonstrate that staff are following orders, and punishment is a result of non-performance or disobeying orders.

Unlike transformational leaders, transactional leaders do not inspire their staff. They believe staff should do as they are told, and hence don’t provide team members any reason to perceive them as role models.

Of course there is a time and a place for transactional leadership and really good bosses and managers understand that there is no single leadership style and that leadership is dependent on the task being managed. They consider the context of a situation and utilise a leadership style best suited to that context. Situational leaders, therefore, manage according to the situation, and to the task/team member they are dealing with at the time. To be effective, this type of leader needs to be able and ready to change depending on the circumstances they are facing.

I’ve concluded that my “good boss”, who is now a close friend and mentor was a situational leader.

Australis College provides a variety of business and management programs aimed at providing individuals and businesses with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive impact in their job roles, careers and personal lives including the BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management. For more information on Australis and our programs please visit our website by clicking here for more information and to get started today.