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10 Ways to Be a Leader (And Not Just a Boss)

By Brian Farris   |    October 13, 2021   |    2:16 PM

Understanding the Differences Between Being a Leader vs. a Boss

Have you ever wondered why some companies have loyal and dedicated employees while other companies can’t get someone to stay longer than 6 months? 

Oftentimes, high turnover rates boil down to a problem with leadership (or a lack of it). 

Employees want to work for people and organizations that treat them like a valued resource. They don’t want to be treated like another number by their bosses and managers — they want strong leaders who can guide the entire team to success.

So, while all owners and managers can be bosses, not all bosses are leaders. There are distinct differentiators between the two, and we’re going to explore them today.

1. Preaches vs. Teaches 

A boss tells someone what to do. 

Leaders, on the other hand, understand the importance of teaching. They encourage their team to take charge of projects and initiatives, but are also available to answer questions and help team members grow.

2. Takes All the Credit vs. Acknowledges Others

We’ve all had bosses who like to take credit for the team’s hard work. 

A leader would never dream of taking undue credit, because they respect the effort their employees pour into every assignment.

3. Debbie Downer vs. Motivator

Mistakes happen in business. A boss will harshly criticize the person or team that made the mistake. 

A leader will point out what was done right and then coach team members through what they did wrong. The point is not to make the person feel bad, but to motivate them to learn from their mistakes and try again in the future.

4. Talking vs. Listening

A boss likes to do most of the talking. They prefer everything their way. 

A leader wants to listen to what others are saying, learn from it, and use the team’s ideas to improve the company’s plan or goals.

5. Profit vs. People

A boss only thinks about the company’s bottom line. He wants to get richer. 

Leaders know that people are a great investment, because the team is the reason for the company’s success. 

6. Ego-Driven vs. Humble

Bosses must be the center of attention – the “leader”. Many times, their behavior is driven by the ego and they believe that they can do it all alone.

Leaders are a bit more humble. They make decisions that will benefit everyone, not just the bottom line.

7. Sits On a Pedestal vs. In the Trenches

Most bosses don’t like to get their hands dirty, even if it means that a project won’t get done on time. A leader works alongside their team on tight deadlines and big projects, helping them with what they need.

8. Unemotional vs. Empathetic

Bosses don’t really care about your needs as an employee. They just want you to do your job. A leader is empathetic and caring.

9. The What vs. The Why

Bosses hand out assignments, never explaining the purpose of it – only that it needs to get done. 

Leaders explain why team members are receiving the assignment and why it’s necessary. This ensures that employees will trust them and understand the overall goals.

10. Detail-Driven vs. Big Picture

Bosses focus solely on the details of a problem, but often never look for a solution. 

Leaders like to keep project and company goals at the forefront. They won’t do anything that doesn’t support these goals.

Every business needs a leader

There’s no way around it: Businesses need leaders. 

Without the guidance, support, and education that a leader can provide, your business runs the risk of failing it’s customers. Leaders ensure that a company’s most valuable resource, it’s people, are on the right track.

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