When you think about what it means to be a boss, you probably think about leadership qualities. But being a boss doesn’t necessarily mean that person is also a leader.
Here are some key differences between being a boss and being a leader:
One of the main differences between a boss and a leader is motivation. A boss is typically motivated by concrete business goals, such as increasing revenue for the company or growing sales in new markets. A leader’s motivations are more general and not necessarily tied to a specific business. A leader will seek to inspire and guide people to success in any situation.
Bosses’ goals are usually company-focused while a leaders’ goals are based on individual and group well-being. In order to meet the needs of the company, a boss is likely to delegate tasks to his or her employees. For a boss, the effective completion of those tasks is a means to achieving the end goal of success for the company. Leaders’ goals, however, tend to be based on a shared personal goal among the group, and thus a leader is more likely to delegate responsibility equally and will be less focused on hierarchy.
Regardless of how employees may feel about their boss, the boss is still the boss and therefore carries authority in the workplace. A leader, however, continually has to earn that distinction by behaving in ways that demonstrate trustworthiness. Essentially, while employees have to earn their boss’s favor, leaders must work to gain and maintain followers.