If you haven't heard, there's a new leadership movement sweeping this country. One that values democracy, freedom, and humanity.

In this environment, respect and dignity for people and their contributions are prevalent. All employees know they are significant--that their work matters, and that no matter how big or small, it has meaning and value.

Some call them servant leaders, or conscious leaders. Whatever you call them, they are no doormats--they can be tough.They hold employees accountable for success and high performance, and are courageous leaders that demand excellence in others.

The Meme that Defines a Great Leader

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably seen this circulating the internet. There are now several comical variations of it, but the original version remains with the caption, "Boss vs. Leader."

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I won't mince words here. "Boss," in this case, is an illustration of a really bad leader. However, in defense of "bosses" everywhere, we need to affirm that not all bosses are bad leaders. So lets just call a spade a spade--these two panels are juxtaposed to depict good leadership from the type of bosses that make most employees with a conscience cringe.

I'm a fan of this meme and use it often in my keynotes and workshops because it highlights some key attributes of each type of leader. For example:

The Role of the Team

Bosses expect the team to serve them. Team members are expendable worker bees hired to do a job. They are tired, overworked, and under-appreciated. The spotlight is on the boss, and he takes the credit.

Leaders serve the team to accomplish great things together. They are valued human beings who are respected and treated with dignity. The spotlight is on the team, and they are given the credit.

The Roles of Boss and Leader

Bosses command others to do what they are no longer willing to do themselves. They manage from afar and above, drive people through fear and control, and are heard saying, "Go!"

Leaders never ask from the team what they are unwilling to do themselves. They are often out in front, in the trenches, leading the way by example. They inspire people through trust, and are heard saying, "Lets go!"

Role of the Organization

Bosses revel in their status and positional authority. They use the business environment or mission to promote themselves, playing for the name on the back of the jersey.

Leaders align their and their team's goals with the larger business goals, and they focus on the organizational mission for the mission's sake. They play for the team name on the front of the jersey.

It's easy to spot a Boss or a Leader, especially when compared against each other. This simple meme helps clarify that image.

Leave me a comment below if you agree or disagree, or hit me up on Twitter for further discussion.