Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader

Some bosses are leaders, but not all of them. It is possible to be a boss and not be a leader, or be a leader without being a boss. Someone may be in positional authority but not have influence, respect or the ability to lead. And many people are able to lead and influence others without being in an official “leadership position.” Here are 10 differences between a boss (someone who is only a boss) and a leader (who may also be a boss).

  1. A boss holds only positional authority; a leader holds convictional authority.
  1. A boss cares about the work getting done; a leader cares about the work getting done and the people doing the work.
  1. A boss tells people to row harder while he or she stands on the shore; a leader rows the boat and invites others to join.
  1. A boss gives orders; a leader listens and then gives direction.
  1. A boss chronicles correction to build a case; a leader gives feedback to build a person.
  1. A boss expects each team member to adjust to him/her; a leader adjusts to each team member.
  1. A boss views a team as people to serve him/her; a leader views a team as people to serve.
  1. A boss has to remind everyone he or she is in charge; a leader never does.
  1. A boss points out a problem; a leader helps you solve it.
  1. People follow a boss to keep their jobs; people follow a leader out of trust and respect.