Are You a Leader or a Boss? There’s a Big Difference.

by Marcus

If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers during your life. A few probably stand out in your memory as people you enjoyed working for while others created unpleasant work environments. There’s probably little doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you preferred to work. The same holds true for your team members.

There’s a vast difference between being a leader and being a boss. A leader influences, collaborates, guides, inspires, mentors and supports others to foster movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss controls, dominates, demeans and uses fear and intimidation to get even more out of the individuals he or she oversees.

LEADERS are service-oriented and see themselves as part of a team. With this mindset, there’s no need for blame, only a collaborative effort on a shared mission. BOSSES are self-centered and power hungry. They believe they’re special and stand above everyone else. Because there’s no team concept, they play the blame game.

LEADERS give credit where it’s due and readily accept responsibility as part of the team. They work with their people for solutions and inspire others through their example of accountability and teamwork. BOSSES love to take credit for things that go well and none of the accountability for things that don’t. To maintain control, they believe they can never be at fault.

LEADERS recognize that when a person receives quality instruction and training, understanding and efficiency follow. Leaders know sharing their time and knowledge helps their people to become more competent and, therefore, confident. BOSSES like to tell others how to do things rather than get involved and demonstrate the process. They’re more interested in retaining power than teaching others how and why something should be done.

LEADERS rely on the intelligence of their team members, realizing no one person knows it all. They seek out and welcome the ideas of teammates, knowing they’ll contribute to the team’s overall success. BOSSES believe they know it all and are the only ones with the correct answers. They don’t welcome the knowledge of their people, which leaves employees uninspired and disheartened.

LEADERS foster goodwill and enthusiasm, creating an environment where their teammates want to give as much as possible. Leaders know they can’t control others. They help their people gain more self-control, make better decisions and become leaders, too. BOSSES rely on authority and fear to make individuals do more and more for as little as possible. They attempt to control through intimidation.

LEADERS empower team members and, therefore, the entire company. They lead everyone to increased happiness and success. Rather than simply bossing people around, leaders help others become their best. BOSSES disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and the company less of what they could be.

LEADERS view team members as human beings with their own hopes, dreams and desires. Leaders coach their people to help them achieve their goals and become more than they once were. BOSSES see people as objects in their pursuit of success, riches and power. They drive their people and use them up along the way.

Through their commitment to communication and mentoring, leaders foster the best in others and treat them as valuable human beings capable of accomplishing great things. Through their lack of appreciation and a dictatorial management style, bosses lay the foundation for distrust, resentment, disloyalty, higher turnover and absenteeism, lower productivity and efficiency and the underperformance of the business.

The biggest difference is this:

While a leader empowers team members and inspires them to achieve professional and personal greatness, a boss disempowers people to exert control.

The best leaders believe in and value human beings and help team members to become leaders in their own right. Bosses do not.

Are you a LEADER, a BOSS, or a combination of both?

If you recognize the need or desire for leadership development, take the powerful step of working with a qualified professional to become a respected leader.

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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper.


Marcus Straub

Author Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub is Founder and CEO of Life Is Great!™ (LIG) Coaching and Consulting, Inc. based in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Serving individuals of all ages and companies of all sizes, in locations across the country and around the world, Marcus specializes in the development of customized programs tailored to meet the unique goals of each individual client. Purposefully created to guide those involved toward unprecedented personal, professional, and organizational growth, Marcus has become well-known for his straightforward approach and systematic techniques.