Leader Vs. Boss: What’s the Difference?

Have you noticed that there’s a difference between bosses and leaders? We tend to think of the former as people who give who orders and the latter as people who pull others together to achieve greatness. 

Using persuasion and influence, a business leader works to achieve company goals. A boss is more of a taskmaster who manages individuals. A leader inspires people, empowering them to improve and think creatively. Being a boss is relatively easy, but people want and need a leader.  

Still unsure how to differentiate between the two? Here are some crucial traits that distinguish a leader from a boss. 

Leaders Understand the Value of Compassion 

Bosses tend to think professionalism means being robotic and impersonal, and leaders understand that genuine personal relationships are a part of being a professional.  

Even when their planner is packed, a leader always prioritizes connecting to the people around them. They regularly ask others how they’re feeling, they’re open to having hard conversations and ready to be vulnerable if need be. 

If people feel their supervisor is being honest and compassionate, they will be much more likely to offer suggestions and speak their mind, which leads to a more productive and rewarding work environment. 

Leaders Focus on the “We” 

While bosses tend to be mostly focused on their own responsibilities, leaders take a team-first mentality. In meetings, they talk about deadlines “we have to meet,” instead of pressuring individuals to meet objectivesA team-first mentality means the leader is a part of the team, rather than above it. 

Leaders Invest in Their People 

Bosses focus on getting the most out of their team, while minimizing costs. Efficiency in business is important, but if it is taken too far – it becomes a toxic “me first” mentality that earns the boss kudos while burning out good employees. 

Leaders, on the other hand, are always on the lookout for how they can help their staff members grow and develop as professionals. They pay attention to the needs of others and areas where they can invest time, energy and resources. A leader wants to see their people flourish, knowing they will flourish by extension. 

Leaders Command Respect, Not Fear 

A boss who is obsessed with short-term thinking is continuously reacting to events and ill-prepared for the future. On the other hand, leaders aren’t just focused on the goals of the day, but also on a proactive approach to the future. 

Getting respect from staff members requires time and dedication, but leaders know that respect is more powerful tool than fear. 

Leaders Are Proactive, Not Reactive 

A boss who is obsessed with short-term thinking is continuously reacting to events and ill-prepared for the future. Leaders, on the other hand, aren’t just focused on the goals of day, but also on a proactive approach to the future. 

We Can Help Your Leadership Group Succeed 

At NSC, we not only help company leaders find top talent, we also find leadership talent for our many clients. Please contact us today to find out how we can support the success of your leadership group.  




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