The Differences Between Being a Boss and a Leader

Are you a boss or a leader? Can you juggle being both?

Last week, I shared a few differences between being a manager and a leader. This week, I want to dive a bit deeper and go over some differences between being a boss and a leader.

Here are a few key differences between a leader that inspires, supports, and encourages their team and a harsh boss that only gives orders in an authoritative way seeking control. A leader can be a boss but normally, bosses can’t be leaders.

  1. A leader is compassionate toward the employees whereas a boss stays impersonal and distances themselves from the employees. A compassionate leader builds relationships and their employees feel that they can share their thoughts and opinions openly. When a boss is impersonal, an employee will be reluctant to present any new ideas.

  2. A leader earns respect from the employees by their ability and character which makes the employees want to do what is asked of them. A boss uses fear and aggressive tactics to get the employees to do what is asked of them. Any respect for a boss is gained strictly by their seniority. A good example of someone using fear that we all know of – dictatorships.

  3. A leader will delegate tasks showing that they trust the employees and believe in their abilities. A boss will micromanage the employees causing the employees to feel untrusted and, in some cases, unqualified. A boss can easily harm productivity by micromanaging without even realizing it.

  4. A leader will be involved with projects as a helping hand collaborating and working along with the other employees. A boss will tell employees what to do and then watch as the work is completed. We have all seen or at least heard of examples of this in the workforce. 

  5. A leader reprimands employees and offers constructive criticism which leads to stronger relationships and better performance. A boss will scold, shout, and even humiliate their employees. This leads to resentment, lower productivity, and in some cases, hatred.

So, after reading the 5 key differences above, do you believe you are a leader or a boss? I hope you say, leader!

It is easy to see those employees working with a leader are more productive, happier, more loyal, and motivated to help the company grow. Employees working with a boss in control have higher turnover, more inner office conflicts, and the quality of work being produced is negatively affected.

Be watching for warning signs in your business as you may not realize you are a boss or that your office manager is acting like a boss.