Like a Boss or Like a Leader?

How to tell the difference if you are a boss or a leader.

Many of us use the word or title of “boss” proudly.  Either it is used as a sense of accomplishment, “I’ve made it or I’m in charge” or it is assigned to you by employees, peers or the business.  However, if you are one of thousands of individuals who have been given the privilege either by hard work or given an advantage to become a person who is responsible for others for the success of running a business keep reading. Why is this important to know the difference of being the boss or being a leader? Simple, your personal success, your company’s success, your reputation and reducing your personal work stress and load. Here are a few ways in which you can determine if you are bossing or leading.

1)        A boss will tell their workers how they want the job done. The boss will be very specific with details, manuals and expect the job will get done based on these played out standards and practices. Why? Most likely this is how you were taught to work and be in charge as well. The boss will set the expectations and standards without consulting or compromising on how they want the job done.

2)        A boss will “tell” their worker what they want and spends little to no time showing their worker how it is done and does not ask for the workers opinion, or if it makes sense.  A boss does not want to hear the employees thoughts or ideas because they are the boss and you are the employee.  Boss knows best.

3)        A boss will have their employees work inspected either by himself or herself or by a designated work inspector. Employees may work hard enough to meet the standards given so their inspections pass.  Here the boss begins to set precedence to meet minimum standards only.

4)        A boss will either reward or punish an employee for their work. If an employee does poorly they will receive some form of discipline and be written up for not doing the job correctly by the standards set. Whether this means coming in late, losing a deal or breaking something the employee will be disciplined and spoken to. Likewise the employee will receive praise and possibly a monetary reward for doing well hoping this will motivate the employee to keep going and doing better.

Now that we have read some boss qualities, lets take a look at the leadership qualities.

1)        A leader will describe the work that needs to be done or the goal, but is open to suggestions, ideas or input on how the job can be done better.  This not only invites the employee to feel valued and needed at the business, but also creates the desire to produce higher quality work and look for cost savings improvements for the business.  Your employee is the expert in what they are assigned to do.

2)        A leader will not just tell their employee how the job is done but will take the time and show them the process first.  The expectation here is set, leader shows employee what they need done, the goal and how it is currently being accomplished.  Once the employee understands and begins working, they will be able to contribute new ideas on how it can be done better.

3)        Leaders encourage their employees to self evaluate their work and that of their peers.  If they are taught how to do a job, they have the freedom to improve the job there will be little to no need to have someone inspect the quality of the work.  Employees who trust their leaders and have the freedom to do their work will increase the quality of the work being done.

4)        A leaders role is to constantly ask for input on how the job can be improved and monitoring if their employees have all the skills, tools and training needed to perform the job to its best.

After reviewing these two styles, ask yourself which style would you want to work for? Which style would you respect and trust?   Without your employees you do not have a business. Employees are first and foremost human beings with psychological motivating needs.  Choosing how to run a business can have a major financial impact on your business.  Your personal, professional and business success all begins with this choice..boss or leader?

For more information on how you can learn to be a quality style leader contact me at or call 708-834-0909.