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

by Marcus

There’s a vast difference between leaders and bosses.


  • LEADERS collaborate, guide, influence, inspire, mentor, and support others to foster movement in a desired direction.
  • Conversely, BOSSES master over others and are often controlling and domineering and use fear and intimidation to get more out of the individuals they oversee.

If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. A few likely stand out in your mind as those you enjoyed working for even as others created unpleasant work environments. It’s also likely there’s little doubt about the type of person you prefer. The same holds true for your team members

LEADERS are service-oriented and see themselves as part of a team. With this mindset, there’s no need for blame, only collaborative efforts in a shared mission. Bosses tend to be 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 recognize quality instruction and training create understanding and efficiency. Leaders also know that sharing their time and knowledge helps their people become more competent and, therefore, confident. Conversely, bosses like to tell others how to do things rather than get involved and demonstrate the process. They’re more interested in power and control than teaching others how and why something should be done.

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 positive examples of personal accountability and teamwork. Bosses love to take all the credit for things that go well and none of the accountability for things that don’t. To maintain authority and control, they believe they can never be at fault.

LEADERS rely on the intelligence of team members, realizing no one person knows it all. They seek out and welcome the ideas of their teammates, knowing this will contribute to the overall success of the team. 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 them uninspired and disheartened.

LEADERS create goodwill, enthusiasm, and environments in which teammates want to contribute as much as possible. Leaders understand they can’t exert control over others and endeavor instead to help people gain more self-control, make better decisions, and become leaders themselves. Bosses rely on authority and fear to force individuals to do more for as little as possible. They believe that when their people are intimidated and afraid, they’re in control.

LEADERS empower their team members and, therefore, the entire company, leading everyone to increased happiness and success. Rather than bossing people around, leaders help others do their best. Bosses disempower and demoralize individuals, making them and their company less of what they can be.

LEADERS view their team members as human beings with their own dreams and desires. Leaders coach their people in the pursuit of achieving their goals and help them become more. 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 as the people they lead are treated like valuable human beings capable of accomplishing great things. Through their lack of appreciation and dictatorial management style, bosses lay the foundation for disloyalty, distrust, and resentment as well as increased absenteeism and turnover, decreased efficiency and productivity, and the underperformance of the business.

The largest difference between these two management styles is that leaders empower their team members and inspire them to personal and professional greatness while bosses disempower their people to control them.

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 of your team. The best leaders among us believe in and value human beings. They work diligently to help their team members become leaders in their own right. Bosses do not.

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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.