The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader
March 17, 2015
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to help lead many teams of people in various organizations, both public and non-profit. Some teams were larger than others, and many of those teams have had a lasting effect on me. One thing that has always remained constant, is people’s ever quick ability to formulate an opinion on leadership.
Whether it’s their desire to see change, or to voice their likes and dislikes – people will always have an opinion when it comes to those guiding them.
Leadership is defined by John Maxwell as ““Influence. Leadership is Influence. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less.” How we leverage that influence can often make the difference between the results we achieve, and the perception we create for ourselves. I’ve discovered over the years that being a leader – and being a boss, are two drastically different things. Here’s 3 differences between a boss and a leader:
1. Bosses rule, leaders lead
It can be very easy to dictate rules and give orders, but being a boss often stops there. While a boss can give orders from afar to be followed, leaders must guide from up close – setting an example to be followed, leading by their actions, not their words. I’ve learned that people absolutely love to see someone guide them to where they need to go, instead of telling them where to go.
2. Bosses order, leaders motivate
When the bottom line shrinks, and the financials are running red – it can be easy to go on the warpath – cutting costs, axing people, and ordering change. Truth is, leaders motivate others to bring the change necessary – because they are invested. A boss views himself as absent from the solution – often ordering change underneath him. Leaders realize that change starts with them, and their investment (whether time, money, etc.) in people is motivated by what’s best for their people. People who love what they do, will be the catalyst to a successful business.
3. Bosses take credit, leaders give praise
One thing that has always bothered me about some of my previous bosses, is walking into an office full of individual accolades and awards – only to never see praise put on those who helped accomplish those successes. Bosses often use employee results to leverage their own promotions and rewards – whereas leaders realize that a recognized team, is a healthy team. It’s important to make sure that people are always being recognized for their successes, praised for their wins, and made to feel like their contributions matter. When someone knows they are valued, they will always strive for bigger and better – resulting in success for your bottom line.