Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Leadership vs. the Boss

Written by: on March 5, 2023

I spent a great amount of money (that I will not disclose) on season tickets to see the New Orleans Saints. To say that I am a fan is an understatement. If I could I would follow them to each and every game because I love to see my team playing football. I once did not know a home run from a touch down but then I fell in love. Recently though, I have started to lose love for management. What I saw with my own eyes this year is that the    boss forgot about leadership. After the starting quarter back was injured, we signed on what was to be our back up. After the starting quarterback was better the back up was left in leading us to yet another losing season.

Leadership is defined as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Northouse explains that some of the major leadership traits include: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability. There is also said to be two style approaches: task behavior and relationship behaviors[1]. There exist many different ways to lead but they should not be based on the notion that you are the boss.

Week after week we watched the coach play the boss. He may have exercised relationship leadership when we needed task behavior leadership. He may have allowed the notion that he was the boss to dictate our future. If he had used integrity maybe he would have played the starting quarterback and given the players that were familiar with him the chance to succeed.Opinions from the outside might ask, ‘What do I know?” I am a woman. How could I possibly know anything about leadership or football? Questioning the abilities of a woman to lead would not be happening for the first time.

Northouse writes that there are gender biases that exist in the roles of leadership. Women have advanced but still are seen as a weaker vessel when leading. It is said that women have a more democratic method to their leadership styles. This type of leadership is not favorable in more masculine roles according to Northouse’s research.[2]. So therefore, maybe it seems fitting to think that my opinion on football a more masculine sport would be outside of my scope. During research on NFL.com it was found that there are just six coaches on five different teams. This number is clearly a fraction of the number of teams that play in the NFL. For so long there has been a glass ceiling that has block the advancement of women in leadership. This same glass ceiling may be the reason that even the women that are present in the NFL are not yet head coaches.

In conclusion, leadership will continue to have the same definition. This definition does not mean that we will agree on who is suitable or what job they should do. It does mean that each leader should exhibit six ethical principles: respect and service to others, shows justice, builds community, and manifest honesty.  The presence of these principles will help in the determination of whether one is a boss or leader.



About the Author


Shonell Dillon

A daughter of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. A lover of LIFE!

6 responses to “Leadership vs. the Boss”

  1. Shonell,

    This is a great post (thank you). Your example of football in the NFL really illustrates your points. Well done!

  2. mm Becca Hald says:

    Hi Shonell, I have an idea of how much those tickets cost! My husband is a huge sports fan, especially basketball, and we have season tickets to the Sacramento Kings. I grew up on football. My brothers both played and I was a cheerleader in elementary school. Football is a great way to explain leadership skills. A coach with good leadership skills can make all the difference in how well the team does. I had a professor in grad school comment that pastoring is becoming more like coaching. Do you think that is true? How can we as leaders in the church apply coaching principles to better disciple people?

  3. Kristy Newport says:

    I like your relatable example of NFL/coach/quarterbacks and leadership.

    I am curious about your quote from Northouse (below). You mention that women have a more democratic method in their leadership style. How do you see this in your place of leadership? I would like to hear more about this democratic method. How do women operate more in this way?

    “It is said that women have a more democratic method to their leadership styles. This type of leadership is not favorable in more masculine roles according to Northouse’s research.”

  4. mm Audrey Robinson says:

    I enjoyed reading your post and especially the points made about women in leadership.

    I do agree that women tend to have a more democratic style of leadership, but I’ve also seen women leaders attempt to lead utilizing pseudo-male traits. In most cases it is unsuccessful – respect is often missing from one of the last six principles you listed. How can we encourage young women leaders to be authentic and trust the process?

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