The Difference Between Being a Boss and Being a Leader

Distinguishing the Difference Between Being a Boss and Being a Leader

When you have people who report to you at a company, you are considered a boss. But being a leader involves a lot more than simply overseeing employees at your business. Being in a position of power doesn’t necessarily define a leader. 

Now when a boss is a recognized leader, employees are better equipped and motivated to reach their full potential.  Good leaders inspire their teams to perform at their best. They are adept at striking a balance between managing, leading, and inserting themselves in situations when called for. They are typically motivated to better their own skills and provide ways for their employees to improve at their jobs. 

In this blog space, we will illustrate the primary differences between being a boss and being thought of as a true leader. We hope that you can discover the leader within you so you can inspire your employees to accomplish more and help your business be successful. 

Key Differences Between a Boss and a Leader

what is the difference difference between being a boss and being a leader?

Leaders Collaborate; Bosses Dictate

A leader is someone who really enjoys working with other people in order to achieve the best positive results for a business. Leaders tend to be hands-on and they collaborate with partners and employees to create innovative solutions. 

A boss will tend to work in a bubble and then issue edicts or new initiatives designed to improve employee performance. There typically is not the collaboration and sharing of credit for new and fresh ideas in a boss’s world. For many bosses, they tend to work in a more isolated environment, where new ideas happen in an echo chamber, and they are missing the critical input of the employees within the company. 

Leaders Listen; Bosses Talk

It seems many managers or bosses have an inclination to issue orders and do most of the talking when it comes to establishing rules, setting new policy, or announcing initiatives designed to improve employee performance. 

This can cause consternation among employees. They feel left out of the decision-making process. 

Communication skills are a foundational quality in leaders or anyone in a position of power. In an organizational structure where there are bosses rather than leaders, conversations tend to be one-sided, where the boss speaks and the employees listen. 

In order to evolve as a leader, it is best to indulge in listening. Make the effort to listen to concerns among employees and solicit their feedback. Listen more than speak and choose your words carefully. The result will be a team that respects you and is motivated to perform at their best levels. 

Leaders Guide; Bosses Micromanage

It is quite common practice for bosses to micromanage and scrutinize the work of their underlings.  They consistently critique and assert themselves into the workflow of their employees. 

Conversely, leaders don’t have a strong need to prove themselves. They establish a work environment whereby employees are accountable to themselves, first and foremost. Leaders will focus on areas that require their attention and then delegate responsibilities. 

The good news for a company’s bottom line is that employees who feel valued with a leader at the helm will typically be more productive than their counterparts at other businesses where a boss is looking over their shoulder. 

An authentic leader sets out to support her employees and create teams that want to produce for the vision of their company. 

Leaders Are Patient; Bosses Rush

When a boss is in the managerial role, he will tend to take over situations if he doesn’t like how a team is performing. He will feel a sense of urgency and rush in to fix things. This can create a negative atmosphere where workers feel put upon and, in some cases, even harassed into making changes quickly. 

A leader, however, wants to create a working environment where he helps employees do their jobs better. He will practice patience and provide space for his team to grow and flourish in their roles, which usually leads to a healthier bottom line. 

Leaders Hone Talent; Bosses Manage Employees

Bosses have a tendency to hire people who think like them. They search for candidates who believe in the same things and whose ideas are similar. That is because they might be intimidated or insecure having top talent working under them and possibly undermining their authority.  

In contrast, leaders hire the best talent and appreciate creative differences or diverse ideas filtering into their teams. They are singularly focused on looking for ways to do what is best for the company, and that includes developing top talent and giving employees room to thrive. It’s a holistic view that benefits more people and can lead to more successes for the business. 

difference between being a boss and being a leader

Leaders Have Open Minds; Bosses Know It All

You will find that leaders embrace a growth mindset. They welcome new ideas and invite input from all of their employees as they seek interesting perspectives, all in an effort to grow the company. Leaders will be open to experimenting and implementing bold, new policies if it will bring positive results to the company’s brand.

Leaders can be visionaries who foster a more creative work environment where individual employees can grow and better themselves. Teams feel more supported in their work by leaders and this can bring about greater productivity and optimal performance levels. 

Leaders Empower; Bosses Watch Over Employees

Leaders establish systems and structures that make it ideal for employees to be autonomous and make changes with minimal supervision.  Whether it is the marketing department, IT, or customer relations, leaders give their teams space to be innovative and broaden their work responsibilities. They encourage professional development and applaud achievements of their employees. 

Bosses are more likely to hover and closely observe their underlings.  They are quicker to critique employees and they wait for opportunities to take someone to task when mistakes are made. 

Leaders Strive for Team Success; Bosses Desire Personal Success

As a whole, bosses are often motivated by their own success and even tout their accomplishments in order to receive compliments and advance within the company. It’s all about self-interest, as bosses look for ways to define success for themselves whether or not it serves the best interests of the business. 

Leaders are directing their focus on the success of their teams and embracing opportunities to celebrate their team’s accomplishments.  As far as a leader is concerned, their employees are indispensable to the company.  Employees know that their work and contributions are valued and that their leader supervisor wants them to succeed. 

Leadership Matters to the Success of Your Business

Leadership is a key component for a business to succeed in an ever-competitive marketplace. It can even be the main factor that makes the difference in achieving remarkable results. 

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