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The Difference Between Being A Leader And Being A Boss

Updated on December 18, 2016

Knowing The Difference

The age old difference between a boss and a leader continues on. The question is, do you know the difference?

Bosses and leaders date all the way back to creation. The first real leader being God.

God lead his people to water. He lead his people to the promise land. He did not point a figure, scream at them where to go, and then proceed to sit back and watch them scramble from the comfort of his throne. No, he reached down and he guided them. He would lend them strength when they needed it, deliver them out of hard times, and he didn't leave their side. He didn't depend on his authority or ability to make them do anything. He trusted their good will and hoped they would do the right things. These are the true characteristics of a leader.

Had he been a boss, he would have demanded that they do things his way and then blamed it on them when everything fell apart all without helping them to achieve any results. He was called a Leader yet he never dubbed himself that. He didn't have to. Being a natural leader, people are drawn to you and follow you. Where would the world be today if Jesus Christ had been born a Boss instead of a Leader?

Seeing Them In Action

When you are at work does your manager help you when it gets down to crunch time or can they usually be found sitting on their tails and demanding that everything is done perfectly?

When that manager needs you to do something do they ask you to get it done or do they command that it is done?

If both of the latter choices sound familiar to you then you are dealing with a boss. A sure fire way to really tell if your manager is a boss or a leader is to see them in action at the work place.

A boss is going to check things out, supervise, but hang back and demand that things be done accordingly. Even if you are struggling, the boss tends to get angry and walk away as opposed to jumping in and helping were they can.

A leader, however, is going to be there when it gets down to crunch time. If everything is going haywire, suddenly you got a rush of people, or you really need help fixing a situation a leader will be right there to help you. True leaders do not let you pull the weight alone, they bare it with you.

How To Deal With Each One

There is not much dealing to do with a Leader as they already have themselves put together. Any confrontations with a good Leader will be respectful and to the point. They will not criticize you, although they may offer constructive criticism in an appropriate manner. They will not put you down and a leader will praise your efforts even if you fail. However, you should stay respectful of a good leader because even though they will lead you, they are not opposed to proper discipline and punishment should you step too far out of line.

When dealing with a boss there is not too much you can do other than be a good employee and voice your opinions in a respectful manner. Many of people leave their jobs because of their boss, not because they did not enjoy the environment or the responsibilities themselves, but because they could not deal with the boss. I personally have left many of jobs due to them having too many bosses and not enough leaders.

A boss will demean you, put you down, always push you but not try to guide you in the right direction. They expect you to have your crap together and to deal with their crap everyday and do not take any less than that. They have no care for their employees, only what their people can do for them. A leader cares about all of these things, but also knows that people themselves come before money and numbers. The best way to deal with a boss if you intend to stay at the job that you are in now, is to steer clear of them and do your best. Do not let their harsh words and unfailing abilities to always find something wrong deter you from your efforts and your career. Voice that they are being unfair and if you feel that your boss is targeting you then go above them to correct the problem. No career should have to be made miserable just because of one ungrateful person.

Is Your Manager A Boss Or A Leader?

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Which Do You Want To Become?

A leader gives credit where credit is due and a boss takes credit.

A good leader leads people where they need to go. A boss will demand results but not help achieve them.

A good leader is an activist, ready to help and get results to meet goals. A boss wants results and to meet goals without having to put in any effort themselves to get there.

Bosses do not get very far in life and if they do it is dishonestly and stepping on people on their way up. Leaders, however, have endless potential to keep growing and keep moving forwards. While a boss does not care who they run over to get to where they want to be, a leader lends a helping hand to all those who want to grow as well.

Both a Boss and a Leader understand that in order to be number one, someone must come second, and third, and fourth... The difference is, a Leader is willing and able to help people move up and continue moving up, forever reaching back their hand to those who are falling behind to help them move forward. A boss simply does not care about much else beyond their own agendas and what appeases them.

Which one do you wish to be in the leadership field? A boss who is controlling and demeaning? Or a leader who can climb the ladder all while helping someone else do the same?


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    • Savannah Tingle profile image

      Savannah Tingle 16 months ago from Vance, AL

      I agree with you completely. True leaders are a rare gem indeed!

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 16 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What are the odds of finding a true leader these days. I'd say extremely rare. Most of the real world has moved beyond philosphy - its rude, materislitic and ego-centric. Much of the pep talk today has become restricted to motivation speeches inside the conference room. Everyone just wishes to boss around and use others as stepping stones.