Bosses Vs. Leaders: 4 Major Differences (Which Are You?)

Consider this question: Are you a boss or are you a leader? Understanding the differences between bosses vs. leaders will help you become a better manager, business owner, teacher, trainer, coach, parent, even a better spouse. 

To start off, when I say “boss,” I’m talking about the kind of manager whose leadership strategies are all about command and control.

Bosses want to be seen as the dominant force in the office and business and tend to “manage” their employees through intimidation and fear.

They have a very “top-down” way of doing things and think it’s more important to be in control of their team rather than to establish trust and inspiration.

Often, a boss’s management style is very rigid. There’s no nuance, no ability to see different sides of an issue.

The boss declares, “I’m in charge” and “I’ve decided this” and “I expect that” – without encouraging any input from their team. It’s the boss’s way or the highway.

Of course, big decisions need to be made all the time in business, and being decisive is necessary and important.

But when a boss insists on making all the decisions on his or her own, and never asks for ideas or feedback from the team, it makes employees feel undervalued, like they have no useful contributions to make. And that will make them feel discouraged and disconnected from the success of the organization.

Learning the four major differences between the two will make you an even more effective and respected leader.



1. Leaders Inspire

Leaders don’t command – they inspire.

Instead of making declarative statements of how things will be done, the leader asks for input and then provides a compelling vision that others are eager to get behind because they see their own ideas and input reflected in it. Leaders then give the team the tools, the confidence, and the support they need to do their best work.

As a result, they end up feeling more ownership and connection to the organization’s success.

2. They are Transparent and Open

Leaders are transparent and open. Bosses usually only tell employees things on a “need-to-know” basis. Information is power and bosses, often fueled by their own insecurities, will hoard and keep it to themselves.

They see information as currency, a commodity to be doled out to those who are worthy, and in return for other benefits.

It’s a short-sighted strategy and one that often breeds suspicion and distrust.

Transparency is a powerful leadership…

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