What Is The Difference Between Boss And Leader – 17 Differences

Written By Aleena

Are you a boss or a leader? Ponder over this question after you read this article. Here are the most prominent traits to tell what is the difference between boss and leader.

A boss is a person who is in charge of the workers, and bosses hold power. A leader, on the other hand, leads by example.

What Is The Difference Between Boss And Leader – 17 Differences

Let’s first start with definitions to clarify the difference.

Definition Of A Boss

The dictionary definition of a boss is as follows:

“An employer or the person who directs other people’s work.”

What Is The Difference Between Boss And Leader

A boss is a person who is in charge of the workers. Bosses hold power, not because the company gives them, but because they have it inherently.

Definition Of A Leader

The dictionary definition of a leader is as follows:

“The person in charge of a group, organization, etc.”

A leader leads by example. They aim to make positive changes for others around them. A leader may hold power but uses it to empower those they teach.

They gain respect because of their actions, not because they have to be in charge.

People often mistake bosses with leaders, when applied to the workplace context. Here are 20 traits that differentiate a leader from a boss:

1. Boss Says, “Do It”; Leader Says, “Let’s Do It”:

A boss will order the workers around to do things. A leader, on the other hand, leads by example.

They will not say “Do it,” but they will inspire their team members to want to do something.

They will make them feel involved with the project or decision instead of telling them what to do.

2. Boss Says, “I Did It”:

Ego drives bosses, so they think that whatever someone did was wholly or partly done because of them.

Leaders are humble and always give credit where it’s due. They are such not for themselves but for those who helped them along the way.

3. Difference Between Boss And Leader – Bosses Don’t Listen; Leaders Do:

Bosses talk first, then listen later, if ever at all. Leaders listen first then speak. It happens mostly when other people have a different point of view from their own.

Listening helps leaders learn from the experience of those they lead and improve as a leader.

4. Bosses Want Everyone To Love Them; Leaders Want To Love:

Successful bosses want everybody to love them. They think that by gaining the favor of everyone around them.

fear vs passion

Bosses will receive more support for whatever decisions they make. They are not all selfless. Their actions show that what is good for them also benefits those who work under them.

Successful leaders do not care if people like them or not. They do their job well and get the respect they deserve.

A leader does things out of genuine concern for their members. They have a purpose to help others even if it is an unexpected benefit from their actions.

5. Bosses Are Afraid To Fail; Leaders Lean Forward:

Bosses are often afraid to fail because of the repercussion of their actions. Because bosses want to be in charge and maintain their power.

They think that taking risks means failure. It could lead them to lose control over those who work under them. Leaders are not afraid of failing.

They know that there will always be challenges on the road to success.

6. Bosses Push People To Do More; Leaders Push Themselves:

Bosses push people to do more work, and the workers feel holding them back.

Leaders know that they need to make their members because no goal is impossible if one works hard. But leaders also understand the importance of:

– Pacing themselves

– Taking breaks

– Knowing when to let go of their own goals to help better those who work with them achieve theirs.

7. Bosses Make Promises; Leaders Keep Them:

Promises are words often said out of courtesy or an expression of hope, not always backed up by action.

As a boss, you may make many promises, but can you keep most if not all of them? A leader does what they say and can deliver on their promises.

8. Bosses Come First; Leaders Come Second:

A boss usually puts himself first and thinks that what is good for him will be good for others.

A leader knows that he will only succeed if the ones he leads succeed too. He puts his members first even before himself.

9. Bosses Are Never Wrong; Leaders Admit When They Are:

There is no such thing as a perfect boss. Even the most influential people in an organization are human, making mistakes.

blame vs repair

But bosses do not acknowledge their errors. They blame everything on other people to save face. Leaders admit when they are wrong to learn from them and become better leaders.

10. Difference Between Boss And Leader – Bosses Don’t Know How To Say NO; Leaders Do:

Bosses are afraid to say no because they think it will lead to losing or lessening support. Leaders realize that no is essential to avoid using resources for poor projects.

They don’t focus on projects which do not serve the organization’s goals and mission. They focus on what needs their attention.

11. Bosses Say They Are The Boss; Leaders Point To The Team:

Bosses are vain. They want people to recognize them for their achievements and their power. Leaders are humble.

They know that everything they have or achieved belongs not to them but to those who work with them. Leaders point to the team when receiving accolades instead of themselves.

12. Bosses Do Not Ask For Help; Leaders Do:

Depending on the situation, the best bosses know when it is time for them to ask for help. Delegating tasks does not always mean doing everything by oneself.

A leader welcomes advice and knows that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

13. What Is The Difference Between Boss And Leader? Bosses Represent The Company; Leaders Represent Its Customers:

A boss sees the company’s resources as his own. He will do everything possible to protect them.

A leader takes care of the company’s resources to work at their best towards achieving goals. Leaders represent their customers.

If it were not for them, there wouldn’t be a business in the first place. Without customers, there would be no need to lead an organization.

14. Bosses Want To Keep Their Jobs; Leaders Want Their Organization To Grow:

When you think about it, bosses are regular employees who receive promotions. They perform well and fit into the culture of the place.

A leader wants to make a difference. With time they get to be the boss because of their dedication and competence in taking care of others.


The main difference between a leader and a boss is that leaders want to see their organization grow.

Even if they lose their current positions, they don’t mind. In contrast, bosses think about themselves and not what can best serve everyone else.

15. Bosses Use Fear As A Motivator; Leaders Use It Sparingly:

Bosses use fear as an effective tool in motivating people. It is all about them, so any threat will do to get results.

But leaders encourage through positive reinforcement. They know how to push people towards success without pulling them down.

Fear is not always bad. Someone uses it as a tool, but only if the leader knows how to use it at the right time and in the right amount.

16. Difference Between Boss And Leader- Bosses Are Afraid To Share Power; Leaders Give It Away:

Bosses do anything to keep their power. In contrast, leaders do their best to share a passion with others.

They want more people to make important decisions that concern everyone’s well-being. A boss believes they know everything there is to know about running an organization.

Still, a leader understands that no one person can know everything. They get people who are brighter than themselves involved in decision-making.

17. Bosses Think It Is All About Results; Leaders Know It Is All About Relationships:

Without a doubt, bosses know how to get results. They will do anything in their power to achieve them in record time.

Difference Between Boss And Leader

But leaders understand that to long-term effects are in teamwork. People must work together towards common goals, not for themselves.

A leader will get people to pledge allegiance not by using fear. They do so by making them feel important and part of something bigger than themselves.


There are many differences between bosses and leaders. The most important one is that bosses seek to control everything around them.

In contrast, leaders put people first because it is all about them. If you desire to be a boss, then focus on your own goals.

Stop thinking about everyone else and forget what they think about you so long as you get what you want.

But if you wish to become a leader, then always look for ways to improve yourself. Know the strengths of other people.

Together with them, you will build something beautiful that will last forever in time.

Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad


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