5 Key Differences between a Leader and a Boss

It is common for people to think of a leader and a boss as one in the same, but the fact is they are nearly opposites.  What, then, makes a leader different than a boss?  Simply put, leaders motivate and empower while bosses focus on themselves and getting a job done. When it comes to building a successful team, managers should focus on being great leaders and not just being a great boss.  Here are a few key differences between a leader and a boss.

Leaders Inspire While Bosses Push

True leaders motivate their employees by their example, inspiring them to work harder.  They present ideas and work alongside their employees and work at achieving goals together.  In contrast, bosses tend to push their employees and force them to work without guidance.  They are not present and working alongside their employees, but rather behind a desk in an enclosed office.  Leaders have earned the respect of their employees and those employees are more motivated to contribute while bosses leave their employees feeling frustrated and without clear expectations.

Leaders Listen While Bosses Dominate

Good leaders spend time listening to their employees and encouraging their input and feedback.  They understand the value of listening to others and incorporating their opinions into decisions. Bosses, on the other hand, tend to dominate conversations. They expect employees to listen to them and carry out their commands.  They do not ask for employee input, but rather tell them what they think needs to be done. Unfortunately, this type of management does not build a team of engaged employees.

Leaders Offer Equality While Bosses See Employees as Inferior

A leader understands that their employees are essential to the organization’s success. Therefore, they treat them as equals and provide helpful direction.  They give each person’s ideas the same value as everyone else’s and work toward creating a dynamic environment where everyone’s input is important.  Conversely, bosses tend to give out orders and view their employees as inferior.  If they do allow for input, they usually pick a “favorite” employee and devote more time to them and give them extra responsibility.  They let personal preference get in the way of equality, leading to decreased productivity and morale among the team.

Leaders Take Initiative While Bosses Shout Orders

When a company launches a new project or gets in a bind, leaders roll up their sleeves and delve right in with their team.  They take initiative and work alongside their employees to accomplish the task.  Their employees see that they are investing in the project and are inspired to do their best work.  Bosses tend to sit on the sidelines and give orders.  They do not get directly involved in the project, but stand at a distance and tell employees what to do.  This hurts morale and decreases motivation.

Leaders Invest Time While Bosses are Egocentric

Leaders invest time and effort into developing their employees and teaching them new skills.  They truly care about their success and make every effort to help them grow professionally.  Bosses are more likely to ignore most of their employees and leave them to figure things out on their own.  They do not take a genuine interest in their growth and focus more on their own career than those of their employees.

A great leader makes a commitment to assess their management style, tweaking it if necessary.  They make it a priority to understand the needs of their employees and put good leadership qualities into action.