Difference Between Boss and Leader (With Table)

Boss vs Leader

When we look at the term ‘boss’ and ‘leader,’ they feel like synonyms. Many of us even use both the terms as synonyms in our speech.

Both bosses and leaders have people who follow their rules and do as they say. Yet, there is a clear distinction between the two.

The key difference between Boss and Leader lies in the fact that a boss is someone who has people working for him who obey and follow his rules, whereas a leader is someone who inspires, motivates and influences a person or a group of people to follow in his direction.

The leader works towards the achievement of a goal, but a boss works towards dividing the tasks to be done amongst the people.

A leader has followers, but the boss has employees. A boss administers his employees by instilling fear and discipline within them, but on the other hand, a leader leads by gaining people’s trust and love.

A boss is always administered, and rules in a professional setting, but a leader can rule in any sector from anywhere.

The boss admonishes, and it’s a compulsion to follow his direction, but a person can stop following a leader anytime he or she wants to; there isn’t any compulsion.


Comparison Table Between Boss and Leader (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonBossLeader
DefinitionA boss is the one who administers his employees in a professional setting.A leader gains followers by influencing them to reach a common goal.
WorkDemands work to be done.Guides towards the goal.
People that they administerEmployees.Followers.
GuidanceCompulsory to follow.No compulsion. A follower can leave the leader anytime.
Depends onAuthority.Goodwill.
Style of workingIssues ultimatum.Generates enthusiasm.
PolicyMy way is the only way.Strength relies upon unity.


Who is Boss?

Often when people think of their bosses, they usually have negative feelings. A boss could be one of the important reasons for making an employee either love his job or hate his job.

A boss is someone who administers his employees in an authoritarian style to get the task done.

A boss is a boss only in the office; he cannot ask other people outside to obey him. A boss has a limited number of people under him that work for the same organization with him.

If the employee quits, the boss has no authority to demand the employee to submit a task.

The boss divides the task amongst his employees and expects them to submit the work within time. A boss issues an order, and the employees compulsorily have to follow the orders.

There is always an ‘I’ while working with the boss. A boss may also take credit for his employees in front of the superiors.

To get the work done, the boss issues deadlines without consideration of his employee’s workload and capacity. A boss is always around a professional setting.

The employee maintains a professional relationship with his or her boss.

 Sometimes, a boss could also help the employees in getting the work done. People who are under confident or underestimate themselves, an authoritarian boss, might be a boon in disguise.

A boss chooses his employees and not the other way around.

Boss has authority

Who is Leader?

A leader is someone who influences people to follow him. The leader has followers that follow him and his purpose rather than obey.

The leader has a charismatic personality that invites people to them. The leader could have flowers from anywhere and at any time.

A leader could have many followers, and there aren’t a strict number of people that have to or don’t have to follow him.

A follower can choose not to follow his leader if he has stopped influencing him. A leader doesn’t force the followers to obey his guidance.

A leader believes that there is no ‘I’ in a team. His motto is ‘unity is strength.’ A leader influences people outside of his office as well.

People follow him because they relate to the principles and teachings of the leader. The leader never takes credit for something his follower has done.

A leader is a leader everywhere he goes. He can influence people through his speech, his writings, or his personal set goals and principles.

A leader creates trust, love, and bond with his followers and guides them through the goodwill of his followers and his own. The leader doesn’t choose his followers; rather, the followers chose their leader. 

RECOMMENDED  Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Awareness (With Table)
Leader gives direction to followers
The leader gives direction to followers

Main Differences Between Boss and Leader

  1. A boss administers his employees with authority and fear, whereas the leader guides his people through mutually built trust and bond.
  2. A boss demands work to be done, but a leader guides the followers toward a common goal.
  3. A boss instills an authoritarian style and gives out an ultimatum. On the other hand, a leader is gentle in his manner and guides people through his goodwill.
  4. A boss is a boss only inside the office. A leader can influence people from anywhere and at any time.
  5. The employees compulsorily have to follow the boss, but the followers can choose to quit following the leader at any time.
  6. Boss chooses his employees, but a leader doesn’t choose followers, rather the followers choose their leader.
  7. A boss believes in ‘I,’ but a leader believes in ‘we.’
  8. A boss takes credit, whereas a leader gives credit.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Boss and Leader

  1. What makes a great boss?

    Boss is a person who is the head of the organisation or any self-owned business.

    A person is termed as a great boss who takes good care of his or her employees and listens to the grievances of the employees and helps in improving their performance.

  2. Is the supervisor higher than a team leader?

    A team leader is a person who has a high level of degree of Technical proficiency why a supervisor is a person who supervisors a team of people and maintains their performance.

    In some organizations, there is no distinction between a supervisor and a team leader. Both the words used interchangeably.

  3. What are the 3 most important roles of a leader?

    There are three important rules which the leader has to play.
    The first role is the envisioning role.
    The second role is to align the employees to the vision.
    The third role is to ensure the proper execution of the steps to get to the vision.

  4. Is the team leader a manager?

    The team leader is not a manager. The manager is someone who manages a team of different team leaders. The team leader is someone who manages a group of employees whether from a technical or nontechnical field.

  5. Can a team leader fire you?

    Yes, the team leader definitely has the power to terminate an employee who is directly reporting to him.

    In the quarterly or the yearly review, the team leader can directly terminate an employee if his or her performance was not up to the mark throughout the year.

  6. Is a team leader middle management?

    The team leader is someone who is appointed to ensure the proper functioning of the regular employees.

    He is not a part of the middle management and instead, he reports to the first line manager or the middle manager.

  7. What is a field supervisor?

    A field supervisor is a person who oversees the project on the whole and tries to integrate all the different segments which are happening in the project.

    The construction part, the designing part, and the maintenance part along with the grievances of the workers are all managed by the field supervisor.



When associated in a professional setting or a personal setting, it is always better to choose to be a leader than a boss. A leader will get followers without him having to choose people.

People will choose to follow in his footsteps without the installation of fear. It is always better to work with empathy towards our coworkers and with mutual bond and trust.

A leader will always make a person reach new heights and will make someone fall in love with their work.

A leader makes a person feel like they are fulfilling the purpose of their life, which can be a very motivating factor in any sort of work.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Boss and Leader

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Boss and Leader. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference Between Boss and Leader
Word Cloud for Boss and Leader



  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uK_c_iqt1R4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA20&dq=Boss+and+Leader&ots=dj-wcAxiOM&sig=2HLOfNQEv0SbY-DQtUywmh03Tpg
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41288154