How Is A Leader Different From A Boss?

What do you want to become, a boss or a leader?

You might question, what’s the difference between the two? After all, your boss is leading you in all your projects.

Many people consider bosses as leaders. However, not every boss is a leader. They are not the only one who can guide you and lead you towards success.

You may find your colleague sitting next to you meticulously solving other people’s problems and showing excellent leadership skills.

We recommend reading about business leaders like Sheldon Inwentash and Sophia Ito  to understand what makes them leaders and not just bosses to their employees.

We may overlap these two functions, but there are considerable differences between bosses and leaders. 

Bosses rule, leaders lead.

While this may not be true with every boss, in general, bosses are demanding. They delegate responsibilities to you with deadlines and hold you answerable for any lapses. 

Leaders lead by example. They delegate tasks to you, motivate you, and guide you towards fulfilling those responsibilities to the best of your abilities.

Bosses speak, leaders listen.

People at higher levels of hierarchy like to talk and impress people around them. Your bosses may be continuously ranting about their achievements and give you unsolicited advice. On the other hand, they may not accept your feedback with open arms. 

Leaders listen more and speak less. They try to understand their team members, encourage them to speak up and support them in their decisions.

I have come across ThreeD Capital’s founder Sheldon Inwentash who is well known for his leadership as both an entrepreneur and philanthropist. 

Bosses intimidate, leaders inspire.

Many bosses use fear as a tool to get work done by their teams. They may talk about harsh consequences and threaten to show you a pink slip for not performing as per their expectations. 

Leaders help you in overcoming all your fears. They learn your weaknesses to turn them into your strength and inspire you to become a better version of yourself.

Bosses think they are the leaders; leaders believe they are a team.

A significant difference between bosses and leaders is that bosses take pride in their position and power and often misuse them to treat their team members inferior. 

Leaders consider themselves a part of their team. They don’t lead by their titles but by action.

Bosses stick to rules; leaders promote creativity.

Leaders let you think for yourself and align your thought process with the company’s vision. They give you space to be creative, even if that means twisting a few rules here and there. On the other hand, bosses judge you based on how well you have followed their instructions and don’t give much weightage to your ideas and feedback.

These differences aren’t standard for all bosses and leaders. Times are changing, and the line between a boss and leader is thinning day by day. Many bosses are now developing their leadership skills and proving to be a great leader and a boss at the same time.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.