Insights with Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: Starting leadership

Positive conflicts in the workplace

I have observed that over the years, the notion of leadership has evolved from one who is in the position to exercise power and, usually rule over others to an entirely different concept. In a LinkedIn article I recently chanced on, the author, Dr. Travis Bradberry sought to explain what leadership was, despite the obvious complexities that are accompanied by this popular term and societal position.

Bradberry began with a discussion of what leadership is not. One of which I found to be profound and true was the fact that leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. High ranking executives are often attributed the title of leader. But not all senior executives are leaders. “Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade. Hopefully you find it there, but there are no guarantees”, says Bradberry.

Another of Bradberry’s assertions was that leadership is not management. He explains that leadership and management are not synonymous, going on to further explain what management entails: “Managers need to plan, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve, hire, fire, and so many other things. Managers spend most of their time managing things. Leaders lead people.”

The term leadership has been defined by some of the world’s most respected business thinkers and political icons but it can be argued that none of these definitions truly give an encompassing definition of what leadership is and what it entails.

So what is leadership? According to Bradberry, “leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good.” He further points out key attributes of leadership:

  • Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power.
  • Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports.”
  • No mention of personality traits, attributes, or even a title; there are many styles, many paths to effective leadership.
  • It includes a greater good, not influence with no intended outcome.
  • Leadership is a mindset in action. So don’t wait for the title. Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you—you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.

Effective leadership is one of the most important elements of a successful organisation. According to a recent study by staffing agency Robert Half, nearly half of all professionals surveyed (49%) have quit a job because of a bad boss. Bosses are also been mistaken as leaders by many. In today’s business world, the greater part of executives are more focused on being leaders than simply being bosses. Leading from a place of impact and influence has become a more common drive for many than just being in a position of power and rulership. The Business News Daily outlines some salient differences between the two terms:

  • Bosses command; leaders influence. According to Sue Andrews, business and HR consultant at KIS Finance, a key difference is that a boss’s authority comes from their position, whereas a leader’s authority comes from their ability to influence others.
  • Bosses discipline; leaders mentor. Employees are human, and mistakes are to be expected. Who you are as a boss is evident in how you deal with mishaps. While bosses are more likely to use a reward/punishment system to discourage poor behavior, great leaders understand that employees benefit from encouragement and mentorship. If an employee performs well in a specific line of work, that strength should be recognized and mastered. “One key element of leadership is the ability to harness the talents of others to achieve a common goal,” said Macdonald.
  • Bosses delegate tasks; leaders delegate authority. A boss focuses on the objectives of their department and is stringent in following protocol to achieve those goals. They think for the short term, delegate tasks to their subordinates and tend to micromanage.

Christina J. Eisinger, executive coach and consultant at CJE Consulting, said that a boss has key objectives to meet, whereas a leader will set the long-term vision for the team and use it as “a key motivator.” “A boss gets results by telling people what to do and is concerned with doing it right,” she said. “A leader is skilled at results by enabling their team to figure out what to do, is concerned with doing what is right.”

  • Bosses are above the team; leaders are part of the team. A boss doesn’t take the time to get to know their employees like a leader does. Eisinger said that bosses view their team members as subordinates, whereas leaders let go of this hierarchical distinction and view their team members as equal contributors. To be a leader, it is important that you facilitate positive relationships with your employees. Work with their needs and create a culture that encourages open communication.

This quote by Simon Sinek, “Great leaders communicate and great communicators lead” points to the need of applying our human skills and not only the technical skills if we want to be seen or considered as leaders. I will also add to the Business News Daily that the difference between a boss and a leader is that bosses do not make use of their human skills as much as they do their technical or hard skills; leaders on the other hand make good use of their human skills which are the main ingredients for influence and self-willing followership.

It is leadership demonstrated in the workplace that brings about the needed change, productivity, or results for companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs. This is why we need to learn and produce the right qualities and attitudes as leaders in the corporate world (our human skills).

No matter who you are, you can become a leader by changing your mindset and acting leadership. Here are four tips that can help you on this journey:


Self-awareness should not only be seen as an abstraction but an action. It is an effort to gain cognizance of your personality, your thoughts, your beliefs and your emotions including your strengths and your weaknesses. To be self-aware means to pay attention to your thoughts and actions. Only then are you able to identify triggers that cause you to spiral out of control. You cannot change what you do not know and you cannot grow what you do not know. It all begins with gaining clarity about who you are!


In every organization, there are rules made to offer direction and maintain order. The ultimate aim is to protect your people. What do you do in the event when these policies are adversely affecting your people? Will you maintain your ways in the name of doing things according to the books? Well, you are a leader for the people.

To be human is to be for your people, your brand and the people it is serving. How are your decisions affecting them? You are your brand. Your brand is your people. You cannot hurt one side of the equation without hurting the other. Consciously train yourself to listen, to feel, to be more present and to care enough to help out.


True leaders find ways to connect with others and what better way to do that than, to be honest about who you are. Transparency in your leadership allows you to become ‘more human’ and approachable and helps to encourage an environment where positive working relationships can thrive.

Transparency in leadership improves collaboration amongst employees and makes it easier to reach a consensus in business decision-making (Influencive). Can you bear yourself by telling the truth about who you are? Can the people around you tell you the truth in front of you no matter how much it hurts? Your vulnerability can be a point of attack but it can also be a point of connection, one that will strengthen your brand and its relationships with others. Have nothing to hide, have nothing to lose and simply be YOU!


Consistency maintains your message. Your team pays as much or more attention to what you do as to what you say. Consistency in your leadership serves as a model for how they will behave. If you treat a meeting as unimportant, do not be surprised when you find them doing the same to fellow teammates or even customers (Inc).

Research by Gallup found that the second most common mistake that leads to turnover is lack of communication. Marcel Schwantes, the founder of Leadership from the Core, beautifully expatiates on this point. “High performing leaders responsibly give guidance, direction, and feedback on their employees’ work and performance on a consistent basis. This is crucial because people naturally want to know what they are doing and what is going on. It pays off in the long run too.”

It is possible to simplify leadership only if we can understand ourselves and simplify how we go about things. We can humanize our brands and form not only stronger connections but have more lasting conversations. You can start today.

Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Soft Skills Expert, Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.

A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.

She is the Soft Skills Expert and Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.

Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.

She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.

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