Leader or Boss: Which One Are You?

Leader or Boss: Which One Are You?

When you search for the words boss and leader in a dictionary, you find quite similar definitions. 

Boss: Someone who is in charge of a team, individual, or organization.

Leader: Someone who leads or commands an institution, group, or country.

You might be thinking, how are these two different? Aren’t they the same? Well, they are not. Their definitions might look similar, and the words are often used interchangeably, but in the real world, being a leader instead of a demanding boss can be the difference between your company succeeding or crumbling. Wondering why? Let’s find out!

Differences between a leader and boss

Try to draw out the connotations of the two words. A boss usually orders, reprimands the team when they fail to do a certain task, and constantly demands one thing or the other during different stages. However, leaders inspire. They coach their team and help their peers to move forward.

While bosses may leave employees afraid or insecure, leaders believe in the power of positive thinking. They don’t just assign; they empower and encourage. Instead of ordering their team to do something, leaders ask meaningful questions to point the team in the right direction. Bosses use anxiety as a tool to intimidate employees and manage their teams. Whereas leaders train and prepare their team to instill confidence and get their whole potential on the table.

Identifying bosses and leaders

  • A boss intimidates, but a leader inspires.
  • A boss watches, but a leader teaches.
  • A boss commands, but a leader inquires.
  • A boss hears, but a leader listens.
  • A boss orders, but a leader asks.

Think – which one are you?

Checklist for practicing efficient leadership

If you want to practice efficient leadership, then here’s a complied set of tips for you:

  • Leaders practice active listening. They strive for change in organizations and so they use all their resourcefulness to bring a positive transformation in the overall work culture.
  • A boss speaks, but leaders connect. Leaders don’t just convey their message, they establish rapport in deeper and meaningful ways, and you can do the same by eliciting emotions to drive the change.
  • Bosses make people work.As a leader, you need to collaborate with your team. Build an agile work culture and encourage teamwork by collaborating with your team on different levels.

Are you a boss or leader?

Bossing around a team or nagging employees doesn’t make you a leader. Most individuals quit their well-paying jobs due to ineffective leadership. So, learn to be a leader, not a boss. Draw a crisp and evident line between the two and ensure that you are an efficient leader and not a commanding boss.

Being boss is not bad. You can be both. A leader and boss. However, you need to balance the roles and help your team become resourceful.

Team Transformation offers coach-based leadership training for managers and executives. Accredited by ICF, Team Transformation offers customized leadership development programs for teams. Contact us today to get started with your leadership training.


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