Have you ever wondered how some people manage to command a room just by entering it? Have you ever got the feeling that you were quickly convinced and moved by other people’s ideas or suggestions? How do you feel this positive energy when you are around that person and start admiring them?
Being an HR generalist, I have come across many such questions. I have met some people who have that charismatic personality by birth and this is not something one can acquire from birth only, as there were others who grasp this personality by learning. And it is not hard to acquire because there are a few characteristics that differentiate a boss from a leader. The difference between a boss and a leader might be small, but it means the world to the people who are around them or work with them.
I have mentioned below some key traits that differentiate a boss from a leader.
- A boss is one who criticises while a leader is one who encourages.
Constructive criticism is required for personal growth and is good when it’s building one’s knowledge and skills. But when someone is being continuously told what they are doing is wrong, it discourages them. A leader is one who reflects people’s strength and inspiration. This helps the person to feel positive about themselves and makes them serve their team in a better way.
- A boss directs while a leader coaches.
It could also be understood as just like a manager manages, a leader leads. A boss mostly gives you order, but a leader gives you the direction, shows you the right path and supports you in your work because employee coaching is an essential part of maximising employee potential.
- A boss puts blame on others while a leader takes accountability.
Leaders always try to avoid the temptation to blame others or hoard credit. Leaders are change agents while a boss blames you for the things that aren’t your fault or take the credit for your work. Leaders focus on maximising the efficiency of their people.
- A boss demands results while a leader inspires performance.
Leaders always inspire people to perform better and looks at improving their flaws while a boss only wants better results. A boss will never look at your struggles behind the work, but a leader will encourage and support you in your work and motivate you. “Leaders create a Vision while Bosses create Goals”.
- A boss focuses on themselves while a leader focuses on a team.
A boss will teach you what to do while a leader will show you how and why to do it. A boss will always do better for themselves, but a leader will take care of their team, how to move them in unity, and how to work for the better performance of the team. A boss just assigns work and lets you struggle, while a leader is always with you and the team. ‘WE’ is the motto of the leader, while a boss only focuses on ‘ME’.
- A boss gives answers; a leader gives solutions.
A boss will just give you the answer to your problem, while a leader will help you to find the solution.
- A boss knows it all; a leader is always willing to learn.
People won’t like it when someone pretends to know everything. The same goes for a boss. A leader is one who always looks to grow as a person and gains new insights and knowledge about their area of focus.
And the list can go on. There are many traits that differentiate a boss from a good leader. A leader focuses on what their team needs or wants, understands the situation and tries to resolve or give suggestions without taking any credit by themselves. A boss manages their employees while a leader inspires them to think creatively and strives
for better performance. So, who are you between the two: a boss or a leader?
Note: The article was originally published here.