Byron's Babbles

Leader Vs Boss

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 15, 2023

I love meeting inspiring young leaders who share inspiring lessons with me. Last night I met Novella at The Cotton Exchange Tavern in Savannah, Georgia. Novella was our server and I was first intrigued by her name. I never had a student named Novella during my time as a teacher or administrator. In doing a little research I found that in the past six decades (1959 to 2018), the name “Novella” was only recorded 1,170 times in the Social Security Administration database. The name Novella is of Latin origin meaning meaning new or young. Also, persons with this name typically have a stronger sense of analyzing life. I would agree because Novella told us she had only been at The Cotton Gin for a week. Her boyfriend is a traveling nurse and works in 13 week shifts. They decided to take advantage of his career right now while they have no children or responsibilities and experience as many new places as possible. Brilliant! Now that is analyzing life perfectly.

Now, for the leadership lesson. I asked Novella if The Cotton Gin was a great place to work. She said, “Yes.” Novella explained she had worked in a corporate chain restaurant before, and really enjoyed now getting to work in a restaurant individually owned. “Before, there was no personalization; bosses just yelled and barked orders to get things done,” she said. Then Novella said, “Here, the leaders make sure you understand why and how to do everything.” Did you catch that distinction between “boss” and “leader”? For example, she told us that as part of her onboarding she tastes the different menu items and that she is given items to take home for meals so she knows all the products first hand. She told us, “I love this restaurant and need to understand and be able to describe what I serve.” Novella had recommended the Cajun Tortellini to me and had described it perfectly.

Clearly the leadership at The Cotton Gin Tavern motivated Novella to go places that she would nor otherwise go. In any business climate, good leadership is perhaps the most important competitive advantage a company can have. We need leaders who will be around when we need them, and who would give us substantive advice, not platitudes. Thanks Novella for reminding us the distinction between “boss” and “leader”.

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