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The key question is; what do leaders do differently from bosses, and are there personality traits that are different between the two? The answers are extraordinarily important t....

The key question is; what do leaders do differently from bosses, and are there personality traits that are different between the two? The answers are extraordinarily important to anyone who wants to be viewed as a leader instead of a boss. Here are ten differences between a leader and a boss.


  1. Job Titles Define Bosses Not Leaders


A boss is able to get people to do as they wish solely because of the power of their position. A leader can hold virtually any position within a company. They earn their power through the merits of their accomplishments, and the way that they treat others.


  1. Leaders Delegate While Bosses Often Micromanage


A leader is always confident in their ability to select and train team members. They assign roles based on each person’s talents and goals. They don’t need to provide unnecessary oversight. Instead, they wait until they are asked for advice. Bosses, on the other hand, don’t have that same confidence. They believe that the only way to get the best performance out of each team member is to micromanage at every step.


  1. Bosses Use a Punishment Based Model Leaders Use Positive Motivation


Whether they employ it subtly or not, bosses rely on the idea of negative consequences to keep their teams in line and on task. A leader recognizes that people as a whole want to do good work, and please the people they work for. So, they use positive motivation and reinforcement.


  1. Leaders Are Seen as Colleagues While The Boss is Just ‘The Boss’


Because of the differences in the way that they interact with their teams, bosses and leaders are viewed in starkly different ways. For example, members of a leader’s team are usually comfortable engaging in chit chat with them or socializing outside of work. Bosses don’t generally get that reaction. Instead, the boss is viewed as someone to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.


  1. Leaders Tend to Focus on Results While Bosses Are More Procedural


A leader recognizes that end results are more important than rigidly following procedures. Because of this, they are more willing to give people a bit of flexibility in terms of how they accomplish their tasks. For example, a leader might accommodate a request from a team member to telecommute because it’s easier for that person to be more productive that way.


A boss would likely respond to that request differently. They would insist that established procedure was that all employees must come into the office daily to work.


  1. Bosses Direct While Leaders Participate


Employees can almost always count on leaders to actively participate in work that is being done. This is especially true in a rush or crisis. A boss takes a different approach. They dictate to others to work longer, harder, and faster while remaining on the sidelines.


Worse, bosses often have poor communications skills while leaders are very effective at written and verbal communications. In fact, many actively use OKdissertation.com to help them develop these skills.


  1. Leaders Reward Accomplishment While Bosses Frequently Reward Flatterers


The way to earn the respect and acknowledgment of a leader is through accomplishment. This might include successfully completing tasks, learning new skills, or overcoming a challenge. A good leader turns their team into a meritocracy.


Bosses rarely do this. Instead, they tend to elevate those who are the most obedient, and who say and do things that flatter them. This often results in resentment and backbiting among team members.


  1. Bosses Dictate And Leaders Empower


A boss tells people what to do when to do it, and how to do it. They leave very little room for choice or much thought on the part of the person receiving their commands. Leaders take pride in their ability to help their people develop their talents. Because of this, leaders empower their people to make decisions.


  1. Bosses See Obedience as Being Key While Leaders Value Questioning


Bosses view themselves as being successful when people do what they say. Questions, critique, even simple suggestions evoke fear and anger in a boss. Leaders operate entirely differently. They want to be questioned. They embrace, even encourage feedback.


  1. Leaders Help Find Solutions And Bosses Assign Blame in a Crisis


The way that leaders and bosses behave in a crisis situation demonstrates the largest difference between the two. When a crisis erupts, a boss seeks to assign blame and ensure that they are not accountable for anything. A leader works with the team to help fix the problem, and mitigate damage. Then, they focus on reviewing what happened and helping to implement ways to prevent the crisis from happening again.




Ultimately, leaders inspire and empower their teams, while bosses fail to do so. Fortunately, many bosses can make the changes required to grow into leaders. This starts with recognizing the behaviors and tendencies in themselves that are listed above.