Differences between a boss and a leader

leadership development leadership training

Are you a boss or a leader? Do you think it’s the same thing? No, it’s not.

And as a leader, it’s important to differentiate between the two and aim to be a leader for your team.

To help you better understand the differences, here are the top 10 differences between a boss and a leader:


1. The boss pushes his employees, the leader motivates them.

While the boss gives the orders, the leader coaches his team according to their strengths and weaknesses. So that everyone gives the best of themselves in the quest for their common goals.

2. The boss relies on authority, the leader on goodwill.

Instead of taking a stick to watch over his collaborators, the leader conveys the values that will allow the healthy and perfect collaboration of all.

3. The boss inspires fear, the leader inspires enthusiasm.

If you are afraid of your superior he is a boss, but if he is an inspiration to you, then he is a leader. Unlike the boss who is feared, who is smiled at in his presence and barfed up as soon as he turns around; the leader arouses enthusiasm in his employees.

4. The boss says “I,” the leader says “we.”

The leader works for the collective and makes the others of his team work. He doesn’t just attract followers, but forges other leaders around him.

5. The boss says “arrive on time”, the leader arrives in advance.

The boss allows himself to be kept waiting, but the leader shows that he is most interested in the purpose of his organization.

6. The boss blames for the fault, the leader fixes the fault

When a fault occurs, the boss looks for the culprit, while the leader seeks to identify the fault to rehabilitate the defaulters.

7. The boss knows how to do it, the leader shows how to do it.

The boss is limited in his academic knowledge, while the leader is that sum of experience and intelligence capable of innovating in the face of all eventualities.

8. The boss makes work a burden, the leader makes it a passion.

With the leader you can feel tired, but you can never feel bored. Because unlike the boss, he transmits this passion for living and working.

9. The boss says “go,” the leader says “come on.”

While the boss points the way, the leader walks the paths at the head of the pack. This communicates to his team the determination to go as far as possible.

10. The boss justifies himself and rejects the responsibility, the leader assumes the responsibility.

Instead of exculpating himself in the face of poor performance by his staff or one of his collaborators, the leader assumes and draws all the consequences.

We can find other elements distinguishing the leader from the boss, as this list goes on. Each one of us can and must show leadership, because the sooner we say “Goodbye boss, hello leader!” the sooner our organizations will be on the road to accomplishment.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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