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Business & Economics Stories

The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader: Who are you?

The key factor behind the success of any organization is the quality of leadership exhibited to the employees, which motivates them to do better. Being a good leader may also mean being a good boss. But you can’t be a good boss if you’re not a good leader.

The difference between a boss and a leader, boss manages their employees, while a leader inspires them to innovate, think creatively, and strive for perfection. Every team has a boss, but what people need is a leader who will help them achieve greatness.

Effective leadership is increasingly important in the workplace, as more and more employees are leaving great companies over one resolvable element – bad bosses. The following represents some key distinctions of a Boss and a Leader.

Leaders Compassionate; Bosses are Cold

Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff. A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.

If people feel that you are being open, honest, and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

Leaders say “We”; Bosses say “I”

Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking.  A “we” mentality shifts the office from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment. This makes it clear that you are part of the team, and you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

Leaders Invest in People; Bosses use People

Many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder, this is another example of the “me first” mentality that is toxic in both environments and personal relationships.

Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others and note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

People Respect Leaders, People Fear Bosses

Earning respect from everyone will take time and commitment to your team. A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior.

To lead others, you first need to earn their respect. Great leadership creates a climate of respect, an environment that sets high standards and supports everyone is doing their best.

Leaders give Credits where it’s due, Bosses only take Credit

Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

Leaders See Delegation as their Best Friend; Bosses see it as an Enemy

Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed.

Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called the self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.

Leaders Work Hard; Bosses let Others do the Work

Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness. Instead of “go”, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support them.

Leaders think Long-term; Bosses think Short-term

Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. A leader who utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future.

Leaders are like Colleagues; Bosses are just Bosses

Another word for a colleague is a collaborator. Make sure the team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

Leaders Put People First; Bosses Put Results First

Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. Leaders develop people as a key ingredient for success in leadership. 

A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.