Some people might use the terms “boss” and “leader” interchangeably, but that’s not entirely accurate. The truth is, some bosses are simply that a boss. They have attained a position in the management section of the corporate pyramid. They have a nice office and a designated parking space. They make decisions that affect the direction of the company and often control how money is spent. However, those characteristics alone don’t make them leaders.
The difference between a boss and a leader has nothing to do with your title or position. Many managers are not leaders, and many leaders do so without a title of authority.
A 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. Not sure how to tell the difference between the two? Here are some key traits that differentiate bosses from lead.
On the contrary, there are stark differences between bosses and leaders.
By learning the key differences of a boss vs a leader and applying them to the job, bosses can become the type of leader who recruit and retain top talent while also cultivating employee growth and increasing a company’s bottom line.
If you’re wondering how to be a good boss and leader, there’s good news – you can be both! If you focus on your leadership skills, you’ll also get the business results that the “boss” side of you wants.
- Leaders Lead, Bosses Push
Leaders motivate their employees, which then inspires them to follow their leader’s example. Bosses tend to push employees instead of directing them. This type of manager tends to never make decisions, which forces employees to work without guidance and expectations while their manager hides behind a wall of inaction.
- Leaders Listen, Then Speak
Good leaders spend time listening to their employees rather than talking above them. They understand the value of seeking and incorporating the opinions of others into the decision-making process.
Bosses tend to dominate conversations. They expect employees to listen and carry out their commands, with little or no direction.
- Leaders Offer Equality
The business world is not elementary school – although the idea of a “teacher’s pet” is as unattractive in the office as it is in the classroom. Bosses can sometimes pick a favorite employee or two, which can result in unfair treatment, such as devoting more time to certain employees than others, giving them more benefits, and creating an inner circle. This favoritism typically does not sit well with other employees and often will decrease team productivity and morale.
Good leaders treat everyone equally, giving one person’s ideas the same weight as everyone else on the team. Strong leaders don’t let personal preferences get in the way of creating a dynamic environment.
- Leaders Roll Up Their Sleeves
When a company launches a major project, true leaders get “in the trenches” with their teams. Leaders take initiative, while bosses tend to stand aside and “supervise” others doing the work.
Seeing that a leader is as invested in a project as the team can inspire others to do their best work. Bosses like to sit on the sidelines and only interact to give orders. This management style hurts team motivation, collaboration, and creativity.
- Leaders Don’t Need Fear
The old adage that says a person would rather be feared than respected is not going to work in the modern office (if it ever truly did). Leaders understand intimidation and attempting to control employees with fear will not work in any setting. Fear leads to doubt, poor morale and productivity loss. Smart leaders inspire with trust, enthusiasm, and empathy, and display confidence in their employees to make decisions on their own.
- Leaders Invest Time
Some bosses – especially those who have chosen favorites – tend to ignore a majority of their employees. This can give other workers the sense they are drifting with an uncertain future. Leaders don’t ignore. They invest time and effort into developing employees in their profession, teaching them new skills, and helping them advance in their careers.
We will show you a route to be a better leader in our next article.