10 Differences between Boss and Leader

The fact that someone is occupying a leadership position doesn’t necessarily mean that they are leaders. There are leaders in positions that know next to nothing about leadership, while some employees or workers, while not in an exalted position, are better leaders than their “leaders.”

The most that being in a place or position of authority can make you a boss and not a leader. These two are very different even though most people tend to mistake them. The simplest way to explain the differences is this: People are leaders because they have the qualities required of a leader to lead other people. In contrast, people are bosses because they are in a position to ‘boss’ people around. Take away the position they occupy from a boss, and they are nothing, can’t do anything or get things done. On the other hand, a leader doesn’t need a position to show their qualities.

A boss’s priority is to tick items off the company’s list (irrespective of how that’s going to happen). However, a leader motivates and empowers the employeesOpens in a new tab. to complete a task while providing all the help and support. Rather than pay attention to the negatives, they try to improve the situation they find themselves in. They don’t just fume about problems and look for ways to solve them. While everyone acknowledges that a boss has authority, they cherish a leader. People may fear a boss, but they believe in a leader.

At this point, the difference between a boss and a leader should be glaring. So ask yourself which one are you? Are you a boss or a leader? Look at your small business; how do you think your employees see you? If you can’t answer these questions just yet, take a read through some of the differences between a boss and a leader.

1. Bosses are cold; leaders show compassion.

Being professional does not mean that you have to act and think like a robot. This is common with bosses. They show an extreme lack of empathy and compassion for their workers and hardly every relationship with them personally.

Leaders will always make time for their workers or followers and relate with them on a personal level, share their feelings, happiness, vulnerability, and communicate openly with them individually. Empathy and compassion are essential cores for a leader, as an essay writing serviceOpens in a new tab. put it. Positive connection with staff creates a healthy working condition where everyone is happy, motivated, and productive. However, the lack of compassion from a boss can cause psychological turmoil in individuals and the office.

2. Leaders are good listeners; bosses are only talkers.

The only thing that bosses ever do is shout orders around, thinking that people will hear them that way. When it comes to listening, they are so bad that they can’t even listen to themselves. This is a major distinguishing factor between a boss and a leader. While a leader will be willing to listen to other people’s thoughts, opinions, and mindset, bosses only care about what they say.

A key feature for people in positions of authority is basic communication skills. This is something that leaders have mastered and is one of the reasons why they are leaders. Bosses, on the other hand, don’t communicate, and they don’t care to learn.

3. Leaders work for the team; bosses are selfish.

The mentality of a leader is to put the team first before anything. This influences their thinking and decision making. On the other hand, bosses care less about the team as long as they get the results they want. For the leader, it’s about the team, but for the boss, it’s about them. Leaders use collective pronouns such as we, us, while bosses use singular first-person pronouns, e.g., me, I.

When you are this selfish as a boss, you have your workers doing things to get in your good books or not offending the boss out of fear. However, they’ll do anything for the leader and the team because of mutual respect and trust.

4. Bosses use people; leaders empower people and invest in them.

Bosses, because of their individualistic and selfish personality, won’t mind using other people. This is common in the corporate world as people chase promotion and recognition. This no interpersonal relationship in the office environment is mostly toxic because of this.  As a leader, the team moment is critical to build people and make them grow. A leader helps their people to grow. They empower them and invest in them so they can be better people.

5. Leaders seek team success; bosses seek personal success.

The motivation that a leader has is different from that of a boss. A leader is passionate about his team winning collectively and wants to see the team members win individually. However, a boss only cares about their own, and no one else’s success.

A boss would not mind having the teamwork overtime while risking their health because they only care about delivering on a project that they probably are not suited for but didn’t reject because of the money involved. In this case, a leaderOpens in a new tab. would look for ways to ensure that the workers are not working overtime and stressing them. A leader will see to the welfare of his team first before any other thing.

6. Bosses take all the credit; leaders give credit.

A boss will hardly contribute to completing a task, apart from shout orders at people, they are rarely there to solve a problem. However, when the project succeeds, they are the first to take credit for it. It’s probably one of the few times when their workers see them smile – not to the workers- but for whoever gives them the recognition.

A leader does not take all the credit. Because they were a part of the project’s processes being a success, they understand how much work others put in and give them credit for it, rather than take it all to themselves.

7. Leaders focus on a task, but bosses micromanage

As someone in a position of power, you are likely to have numerous things to deal with simultaneously. In this case, a boss will try to exert themselves on every one of them at the same time and fail to get productive results in any of it. But a leader will focus on the task that needs their attention the most and delegate the rest to their team members or workers.

According to an author at thesis writing servicesOpens in a new tab., the difference here is that leaders have invested in their workers and have empowered them to complete tasks and take decisions even in their absence. The same cannot be said of a boss.

The ability to focus on one task and delegate other people to head different other tasks is one reason why a leader will always be more successful than a boss.

8. Leaders are patient; bosses are impatient.

Bosses go about shouting orders at people because of their innate tendencies to be impatient. They want quick and immediate results; they seem to forget that there’s a process to everything. This is not the same as a leader. A leader wants their followers to grow, so they are willing to help, mentor, and tutor them into the leaders they are, and they understand that it is a process. This is why they are more patient. Leaders will watch people under them fail, put them right, and give them a second chance to make things right. This is the direct opposite of a boss that gives no room for errors or growth. A boss can result in sacking an employee for a one-time mistake while a leader leaves room for correction. Bosses expect perfection when they are far from perfect.

9. Bosses leave other people to do the work; leaders join in the work.

Leaders are naturally hardworking people; while bosses might not necessarily be lazy, their output is usually too small to show. At times, people might even think that the only thing they do is give others. Leaders don’t just push the task to other people. They are actively involved in getting it done and solving problems that may arise. Leaders set the tone for how the work is going to be done. Bosses, on the other hand, just tell them to do it.

10. Bosses emphasize results; leaders emphasize people.

The only thing that a boss cares about is for the workers to get the job done irrespective of the situation; just get it done. On the other hand, the emphasis for a leader in the people and their welfare. Leaders understand that when people are fine, they will be able to accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently. Bosses lack the trainingOpens in a new tab. to focus on people, so they always emphasize results, sometimes, even more than processes.


Reading this, you would have pictured yourself in one or two of the situations to give you an idea of whether you are a boss or a leader. The good thing about leadership is that you can always learn it and develop all the necessary skills you need to be a successful leader. So, even if you find out you are a boss, you can still always take the right step into doing better.

Author’s Bio:

Joshua Sharp is a professional writer and blogger from Oxford, working as a journalist for assignment writers AustraliaOpens in a new tab.. He is interested in traveling, exploring different cultures and developing social connections.  He is professional in media, art, public relations and current news. He also has an interest in psychology.

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