A Company Without a Boss

According to the Volaris Group, the difference between a boss and a leader is the following: “a boss is someone who manages their employees, while a leader inspires them to innovate, think creatively and strive for perfection.”

Across industries, you can find thousands of bosses giving orders and demanding results to keep their business running smoothly. What you are less likely to find, though, is a leader focusing on his company as a team, seeking and listening carefully. However, one place where you can find this person is Switzer.

In 2012, Bernie Switzer took over as President at Precision-Photo Fab, now Switzer. Since then, he has worked to expand the company to nearly double its previous size and is currently implementing strategies for further growth; in other words, he has accomplished only what true leaders, not bosses, can. So, as he endures his eighth year of leadership, the President offers some insight into running a successful, growing company as a leader.

One of the greatest responsibilities that comes with the title “President” is motivating your team; if they lack a motivating purpose, nothing will get done. When it comes to motivating his own employees Bernie says, “People need to see that you are passionate about the company and that the purpose for why the company exists – why all these people are working with you to accomplish something – is critically important.” Throughout Switzer’s facility, posters are hung which display the company’s core values. Hanging these posters showcases Bernie’s commitment to Switzer’s values; consequently, motivating his employees to also value them. Additionally, the biggest way that Bernie has been able to motivate other Switzer employees is by simply being a good example. He explains that people want to see that you live by the same rules they are, that you work just as hard as they do. As he tells his kids each day before school, “Be a good example. That’s what leaders do.” Finally – and quite possibly the easiest – method of motivation, is food. “People love free food,” Bernie states.

Unlike bosses, leaders are constantly learning to continue driving their company in the right direction. Being at the top of the hierarchy, determining what to get better at is not the easiest thing; but Bernie has developed methods to overcome this challenge. He says a big part of this is being as self-aware as possible. “I give everyone here the opportunity to communicate with me and be honest about what they need from me and what I can do better as a leader,” he explains. This open-mind set goes hand in hand with Bernie’s idea of being a life-long learner, allowing him to take input from others and transform it into meaningful changes that allow him to better himself as not only a leader, but also a person.

In his role as President for the past eight years, Bernie has come to learn many lessons which he now uses to continue leading Switzer forward. Most importantly, he has learned how to surround himself with good people – not only in mind, but also in heart. “The right people are the key to success for any business.” Without the right people working to not only receive his motivation but to also push himself, Bernie would not have been able to bring Switzer to where it is today, let alone devise plans for future growth.

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