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I guess you have seen the picture circulating around various social networks and blogs online, about the difference between a boss and a leader (if not, do a quick Google search for it, I'll wait). It shows a basic difference between the two: the boss will stand above the team and shout instructions from a distance, while a leader does what the name suggests: leads the team from up close, working together with them.

Being part of the team alone is not enough to do the toughest job of the world - leading - right. Yes, leading is a tough job - if you don't do it right, you might find yourself surrounded by people flirting, smoking, playing online pokies at Red Flush or leaving early when there are loads of things left to do. Here are some tips to avoid that, and become as good a leader as it gets.

1. Make your teammates feel good

Respect the values of the employees, don't assume they only stay at your company for the money. Even if everybody has a price, money can't buy loyalty. Compliment people when they do their job well, appreciate their efforts, both privately and in public.

If one of the employees makes a mistake - this happens, no matter how professional one may be - go easy with the rebuke. Attract the employee's attention to the mistake, and focus on solving any issues instead of punishing the culprit. This can make him or her feel more appreciated.

2. Set clear goals that can be achieved

There is no use in setting a deadline that's impossible to keep. Instead, try to calculate with anything that might intervene, and avoid any unpleasant surprises in the process. Remember - it's always better to under-promise than to under-deliver.

Make sure all your employees and team mates know exactly what you expect from them. If they overachieve, commend them and reward them, while if they fail at their tasks, don't be shy to help them, even yourself.

Don't try to do everything by yourself. As a leader you must be aware of your teammates' strengths and weaknesses, so that you can delegate some of the tasks at hand to the right person. Give due credit to your teammates or employees for the job well done.

3. Communicate

No team can work together as a whole without communication. Always keep one ear open to suggestions, and another one to negative feedback, as you can learn very much from criticism. Be sure to clarify the feedback so that you completely understand what it refers to, no matter if it's good or bad.

4. Don't be a "people pleaser"

It's important to do everything for your team to work in a good mood, but don't overshoot. If an employee keeps failing to meet expectations and holds back the whole project, or company, communicate that to him or her in a clear and imperative manner. If that fails, don't hesitate to let him or her go.

These are just a few tips, but there are so many more things to do to be a leader that you can only learn by trial and error. If you fail once, learn from your mistakes, and try to avoid them in the future.

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