A boss has the title but a leader has the people


  • The focus

For a boss the end objective is profit, a boss is interested more about the outcome not the process.
On the other hand, a leader is focused on changing people and the organization, the leader will be more interested in the process and the people behind it.

  • The driving force

For the boss, the motivation stems from the focus on standards. The boss’ attempt to control and to motivate the workforce is about rewards and punishments.
The leader is driven by the values they hold dear. The leader emphasizes inspiration as a motivational tool.

  • The approach to work and objectives

A boss approaches work in an administrative fashion. To ensure the end objectives are achieved. The boss takes a dominating approach to work, expecting the subordinates to follow his or her instructions as strictly as possible. A boss would have outlined a plan and accepted certain processes, which he or she will anticipate the subordinates to follow. Being a boss doesn’t mean you need to be the toughest or the meanest to bully people into submission. Furthermore, the boss doesn’t show or guide during the process. The instructions are meant to be so clear and the subordinates properly qualified in order to guarantee the proper implementation.
The approach is rather different with a leader. A leader approaches the work through innovation and collaboration. The leader is not there to tell the subordinates how a task should be performed. Instead, the leader might ask the subordinate to be part of coming up with a new idea. This doesn’t necessarily mean the leader wouldn’t be the only person to set the objectives, but rather the leader is not fully aware of the processes. The leader will show how things might be done, instead of stating his or her way is to proven method to use.

  • The source of authority

The boss gets his or her authority from the position. The authority comes from external sources, such as the title and the position, not in any real capability or the boss’ inner ability to influence the subordinates.The authority is also not reinforced or provided to the boss by the subordinates
On the other hand, a leader receives his or her authority from an internal place. In fact, a title doesn’t make anyone a leader and you can show leadership even if you are lower in the workplace hierarchy. A leader has authority over subordinates because the subordinates hand it to him or her.
Authority might not seem as important to a leader than to a boss, but you can’t perform in either of these roles without clear authority.

  • The way to communicate and delegate

The communication style is often commanding and telling in nature. A boss uses communication as a way to delegate tasks and responsibilities among his or her subordinates. .
A leader’s style to communicate is much more participatory, no matter how much power in decision making the leader has. A leader will be interested in the opinion of the subordinate and generally, focuses on ensuring communication is based on discussion. Collaboration and feedback are typically the building blocks of a leader’s communication style.

  • The level of accountability

A boss delegates responsibility and therefore, places accountability on the shoulders of the person performing the specific tasks. The emphasis is on having someone accountable for the failure, not so much the understanding of what went wrong.
But for a leader, the full accountability is on the leader’s shoulders. The ethos of learning from mistakes is at the heart of the leader’s strategy. Accountability for a leader means admitting mistakes, but not dwelling on them. Perhaps most importantly, a leader is not afraid of being told how he or she can improve. As mentioned earlier, a leader will self-reflect and listen to criticism rather than just give it.

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