February 03, 2016 – Colleen Niese - Insights

Is Your Boss A Steward or a King?

White pawn with a king crownI was with a group of folks the other day and the question was asked, “what was your worst job ever?” While tempted to list the horrible positions we’ve all held at one time or another, one of the thoughts that I was left with was centered around the boss, specifically those who recognize and lead from the place of being either a steward or a king. If you’re wondering if you work for which one, look for these tell tale signs.
Who takes the credit? A King tends to talk about himself. A lot. Especially when something is achieved or goes well, regardless of his own role in the accomplishment itself and it isn’t unusual for him to sign his name to someone else’s effort. A Steward cares very little on the self-promotion aspects to work, he just wants the team to succeed and inherently acknowledges when the team or individual contribute in meaningful ways.

Gauge the level of giving. Recently, someone described their boss as “selfish” and it struck me that the King consistently takes care of himself first and foremost. The successful formula that a Steward follows when making decisions or prioritizing work is considering solutions through the lens of organization first, team second, leader last.

Where’s your boss during the bad times? A King is super visible when riding high on the good times and tends to fade into the background when the opposite occurs. If he does show up, he typically is focused more on who is to blame as opposed to leading his team through the crisis. A steward knows its during these very times his leadership is most tested and focuses narrowly on how to resolve, lessons learned and what role he personally plays on the problem itself and more importantly, executing the way to fix it.

What’s his first priority? A King at any level believes his title equals entitlement; he’s “made it!” and his heavy lifting days are finally behind him. His leadership is a direct reflection of this belief. A Steward recognizes he first and most important is to ensure and support the team’s overall success through behavioral modeling, influence and holding his people into account so that collectively they meet any given objective.


If you’re contemplating a move with your career or just want to have a chat about options, feel free to reach out to The Marlyn Group at letsconnect@marlyngroupllc.com.