When we look at the term ‘boss’ and ‘leader,’ they feel like synonyms. Many of us even use both 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.
- A boss is a person who has formal authority over employees and is responsible for assigning tasks and managing performance.
- A leader is a person who inspires and motivates others to work towards a common goal and may or may not have formal authority.
- A boss focuses on managing tasks, while a leader focuses on empowering and developing people.
Boss vs Leader
The difference between a Boss and Leader lies in the fact that a boss has people working for him who obey and follow his rules. In contrast, a leader is someone who inspires, motivates and influences a person or a group of people to follow in his direction.
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The leader works towards achieving a goal, but the 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 professionally, 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.
|Parameter of Comparison||Boss||Leader|
|Definition||A boss is one who administers his employees in a professional setting.||A leader gains followers by influencing them to reach a common goal.|
|Work||Demands work to be done.||Guides towards the goal.|
|People that they administer||Employees.||Followers.|
|Guidance||Compulsory to follow.||No compulsion. A follower can leave the leader anytime.|
|Style of working||Issues ultimatum.||Generates enthusiasm.|
|Policy||My 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 who work for the same organization.
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 superiors.
To get the work done, the boss issues deadlines without consideration of his employee’s workload and capacity. A boss is always around in 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. For people who are underconfident or underestimate themselves, an authoritarian boss might be a boon in disguise.
A boss chooses his employees and not the other way around.
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, writings, or personal set of 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; instead, the followers choose their leader.
Main Differences Between Boss and Leader
- A boss administers his employees with authority and fear, whereas the leader guides his people through mutually built trust and bond.
- A boss demands work to be done, but a leader guides the followers toward a common goal.
- A boss instils an authoritarian style and gives out an ultimatum. On the other hand, a leader is gentle and guides people through his goodwill.
- A boss is a boss only inside the office. A leader can influence people from anywhere and at any time.
- The employees compulsorily have to follow the boss, but the followers can quit following the leader at any time.
- The boss chooses his employees, but a leader doesn’t choose followers; the followers choose their leader.
- A boss believes in ‘I,’ but a leader believes in ‘we.’
- A boss takes credit, whereas a leader gives credit.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.