The terms “leader” and “boss” are often used interchangeably by most people. Even though the two are synonymous, their connotations differ immensely. “Leader” holds a more cool and positive nuance, while “boss” may have rough implications. The real question is, why do bosses behave in such an impolite and domineering manner at all? It’s because they’ve earned a certain position in the managerial hierarchy. Naturally, these positions instill high self-regard in a person, resulting in pride, which can easily turn into arrogance and egotism.
All leaders are bosses, but not all bosses are leaders. There’s a fine line that distinguishes the two. People may acknowledge and follow the orders of their bosses, but they will follow the footsteps of their leader at will, making them their role models.
Having your own fancy little office or personal parking space only makes you a boss. But the art of leadership is only mastered and administered by very few. It takes sheer will and determination to perceive your subordinates as your partners and think on their level. Even so, this is the kind of teamwork and collaboration the leaders advocate and put into action.
Most people often ask this question of acclaimed leaders: is leadership something that can be taught or learned? The good news is that, yes, it can be learned. Future leaders are already enrolling in universities with leadership as their majors to take on leadership roles in their careers. You may also enroll in an MS Ed Educational Leadership Online Program for this purpose. This degree program won’t get you to the top of the hierarchy as you start your career but will equip you with necessary soft skills that will help you grow professionally.
Continue reading to truly understand the distinctions between a boss and a leader.
1. Leaders Lead, Bosses Impose
Leaders allow the employees to have a sense of direction in what they’re doing. They lead by example. By giving them firsthand knowledge of the tasks that need to be completed, they may assist the employees.
On the other hand, bosses will only give orders and expect employees to know what to do. They are least likely to be open for assistance and expect the employees to meet the deadlines without coming to them for help of any sort. Due to this course of action, employees often mess up tasks or feel demotivated while working. It severely affects their performance during work.
2. Bosses Talk While Leaders Listen Before Speaking
Good leaders open the floor for questions and suggestions from their employees. Bosses do the complete opposite. Promoting open communication for the employees makes them feel important and improves their overall performance. The same would benefit the organization as a whole in the future. Leaders who encourage open communication are often presented with a diverse range of ideas and suggestions that may benefit the work ethic or simplify the work that needs to be done. Bosses, on the other hand, allow little to no room for suggestions. This practice makes it complicated for the employees to work and they are more susceptible to making mistakes.
3. Leaders Are Fair, Bosses May Sometimes Be Not
Even parents have a favorite child. It would be foolish to assume that bosses don’t have a favorite employee. The “boss’s pet” culture brings about an environment of inequality in the workplace and disrupts the performance of other not-so-favorite employees. Leaders are mindful that fairness and justice are the way to go in an organization. It’s the only way to obtain complete workforce satisfaction. Otherwise, workers will only indulge in conflicts every now and then. Unjust treatment and undeserved promotions can damage the reputation and overall performance of the organization in the long run.
4. Leaders Work While Bosses Rule
You will always find leaders to be on their toes working side-by-side with the employees instead of just giving orders. Bosses, on the contrary, will only give orders and relax in their fancy offices. They are only concerned about the deadlines being met. They are least bothered about the struggles of the employees during work, the difficulties that may arise, or the progress of the particular tasks. When leaders step into the field to work, the employees feel empowered and inspired.
Having an overbearing boss who does nothing but watches you can be severe frustration. Teamwork and collaboration are destroyed by this type of management, making an organization suffer in the present and the future.
5. Leaders Constructively Criticize While Bosses Scold
Mistakes are unavoidable in any kind of task no matter how big or small it is. It’s what makes us humans. Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, distorted routines, communication gaps, or any kind of technical difficulties can make your work susceptible to mistakes and errors. Bosses are always at the forefront to scold an employee when that happens. Leaders on the other hand would analyze the situation, investigate the root cause and reason with the wrongdoer. They will communicate and draw solutions instead of scolding and further messing up the employee’s state of mind. Leaders will also be mindful of doing this in private to protect the dignity of the particular employee.
6. Leaders Invest Time
Most bosses don’t even know the names of half the people that are working for them. This makes employees feel abandoned in their own organization. They work like robots that follow orders and expect nothing in return. True leaders invest time in learning about their employees and giving them non-monetary benefits in return for their services. They may go around the office appreciating the employees for their work. They may also try to create small talk during lunch and coffee breaks by asking about the weather, the health of their employees’ children, or anything that doesn’t involve work. This practice gives birth to a positive and healthy organizational culture.
The Bottom Line
You can recognize a leader when you see one. Leadership skills allow you to grow professionally and personally by combining a number of personality traits. Fortunately, education can help you develop these traits.
Leaders are team players who work side-by-side with the employees in the organizations’ best interests, while bosses are only there on the sidelines watching like a hawk. Additionally, leaders are open to employee suggestions and ideas that may facilitate the flow of work or benefit the organization in some way. While bosses only give orders and expect the employees to follow them.