The Difference Between Bosses And Leaders

Be a leader, not a boss. “I am your boss, and you will do as I say” are words that you might have heard in your corporate workplace. If you have heard those words before, or something related, then the thought of switching jobs might have crossed your mind on more than one occasion. 

According to a recent survey by a staffing agency in the USA, around 49% of staff have quit their jobs because of a bad boss. 
So if you have been promoted to a managerial position or find yourself managing a team, then here are some key points to help you be a highly effective leader (make sure to read to the end for a bonus);

Man walking holding a briefcase

What is a Leader?

When you think of great leaders today and throughout history in business, politics, war, religion, sports, or arts, there are certain traits and characteristics that stand out. The measure of a great leader is to empower those as he/she leads and nothing to do with exercising authority. Truly effective leaders not only motivate and influence, but also inspire and empower. That is why it is said that the main work of a leader is to spread hope, not fear, to earn respect and followers and then create more leaders. 

Take the example of Martin Luther King Jr., who through his leadership was able to establish a movement that was fundamental to the success of ending legal segregation in the states. Martin Luther Jr. was truly a charismatic leader and won the hearts and minds of the American public. He soon garnered a worldwide following and his speech “I have a dream” inspired hope and awareness not only in his followers, but in the public at large. With his eloquently spoken words, he was able to influence public opinion about civil rights atrocities that were rampant during those times. His struggle was not for his own benefit or for the benefit of one man, but instead for all of the generations to come. 

Why Are Leaders Better Than Bosses

Although the term “leader” and “boss” are used interchangeably in popular culture, there is in fact a world of difference between the two. Among other things, leaders inspire, nurture, empower, and support their teams. Whereas bosses rule with authority, fear, manipulation, insecurity, and stress. A boss blames his mistakes on his subordinates. A leader admits his own mistakes. A boss tells people what to do. A leader shows them how to do things. A boss criticizes. A leader gives advice. A boss talks fast and gives orders. A leader gives direction. A boss demands respect. A leader earns and deserves respect. 

5 Key Differences Between a Boss and a Leader

А FIRST difference is that a boss uses the authority bestowed upon them by the organization to command others, whereas a leader’s authority comes from his ability to influence people. 

А SECOND difference is that bosses regard themselves as above or superior to the rest of the team, whereas a leader considers himself to be part of the team. This will translate into both a personal and professional capacity. 

А THRID characteristic that leaders have but that bosses don’t possess is that leaders give credit where it is due. Bosses on the other hand take credit for other people’s work and assign blame on others for their own mistakes. 

А FOURTH characteristic that differentiates a leader from a boss is that a leader sees delegation of work and the empowerment of his/her employees as the right thing to do. A boss on the other hand, thinks he knows it all and will fall too often into the trap of micro-managing his employees. This is dangerous to employees as it kills all creativity and leaves them feeling insecure.

А LAST important characteristic is that leaders have is LONG-TERM goals and not just SHORT-TERM goals. This helps to make employees feel more confident and relaxed with their work environment. 

Being a good leader is an ongoing process and not an easy one. These characteristics that we listed are just some of the key characteristics of a good leader, however, there are more characteristics depending on the environment and task. It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on the world’s greatest leaders and what they are doing. 
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