Boss Vs. Leader: What Are The Main Differences?

You have probably heard it said that while a leader can be a boss, not every boss can be a leader. Being a leader involves much more work and responsibility than just being a boss.

A boss is mainly concerned with the outcome; a leader is responsible for the process of the outcome and the people who are working on their team.


Leaders Lead, Bosses Rule

Leaders are able to motivate their workers and see that everyone is moving together to keep production moving. Bosses are not concerned with how the team is accomplishes the tasks, only that the tasks are getting done.


Leaders Listen, Bosses Command


Leaders listen to the opinions of their colleagues and make them feel like an important part of the decision process. Leaders are always there listening to feedback and modifying things to make their team feel confident in their abilities. Read our article on leader vs. manager too to know how they differ.

Bosses, on the other hand, give orders without listening to any feedback. They expect their orders to be followed without any question.


Leaders Motivate, Bosses Scare

boss and leader

Leaders will keep their team feeling motivated even during the lows of a project. A true leader will empathize with their team and offer support when their colleagues are feeling uncertain about the outcome of the project. Bosses are more likely to intimidate their colleagues into action.


Leaders Teach, Bosses Expect

A leader has the self-esteem and is humble enough to understand that they are there to not just lead, but also teach as they lead. A true leader is also able to learn from colleagues who may be lower in stature. Leaders know that there is always more to learn and therefore they are willing to learn and willing to share their knowledge with someone else.

Bosses expect their colleagues know what they are doing and will not take the time to teach. Instead, they ignore their colleagues and if there is a problem that needs to be solved, they expect it to be solved without them having to put forth an effort.


Leaders Join, Bosses Stand Apart


Leaders are willing to step in and work with their colleagues on a project. They will monitor the progress of the project, make any necessary adjustments and help where needed. They are a part of the team.

Bosses will monitor progress through reports but will not join in and offer assistance when needed. They will assign blame and expect deadlines to be met without question.

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Leaders Foster Equality, Bosses Thrive on Inequality

Leaders will foster relationships to make every team member feel important. This makes everyone feel like they are making equal contributions to the project. This relieves the stress and tension of meeting deadlines and making a success of the project.

Everyone on the team feels like they have equal share in the success or failure of the project. Therefore, they will work harder to make it a success.

Bosses tend to pick their favorites among the team and will foster competitiveness in order to get the best work from their colleagues. Bosses expect the project to get done, no matter how or by what means.



  • Lead their team.
  • Rule their team.
  • Listen to their co-workers.
  • Command that things be done.
  • Motivates everyone to give their best and to share the responsibility of the project.
  • Scares their colleagues into getting things done on time and correctly
  • Teaches as they work with their team and learns from co-workers.
  • Expects their colleagues to already know how to do something.
  • Joins in on a project when needed.
  • Stands apart and above their colleagues.
  • Foster equality.
  • Thrive on inequality.

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