5 Differences Between a Boss and a Leader

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Would your employees describe you as a boss or a leader? How would you describe yourself?

If you think they are the same thing then think again! There are significant differences between bosses and leaders in the workforce.

A 2018 study of more than 25,000 employees showed that those who rate their supervisor’s leadership as poor are four times as likely to be looking for a new job than those under good leadership, according to Inc. magazine. (Source: INC.com)

The difference can affect employee morale, production quality, and turnover rates. The difference can also affect how you are viewed by upper management. Looking through this list is a great start toward moving from boss to leader. Read through the differences below while looking at yourself from the view of your employees. We don’t think you’re a screaming tyrant, but there might be a few areas you can improve upon.

1. Enthusiasm > Fear

Nobody wants to come to work afraid they are going to upset the boss. You might think this “boss-pleasing fear” is how you get things done … but it actually creates an uneasy environment that slows down production and increases errors.

Employees need a leader who is enthusiastic about the job ahead of them and confident in his or her staff. This doesn’t mean you don’t address mistakes or overlook problems. It’s your reaction to those situations and how you address them going forward that will either encourage employees to keep pushing forward or leave them afraid to try again.

2. Delegates > Micromanages 

Leaders delegate projects and bosses micromanage them.

Don’t forget, your employees are there because they had the expertise and skill sets that set them apart from other candidates. Micromanaging employees after you give them tasks only stifles those great qualities. Trust your initial decision to hire them and trust them to get the job done well. You might just be surprised at the results!

3. Gives Credit > Takes Credit

A good leader gives credit where it’s due. Your employees want to be recognized for the good work that they accomplish. Don’t steal their moment by hogging the glory. You might think you’d never do this … but guess what, insecurities can creep in and take over your rational brain. So be ready to dish out those praises even if you’re feeling insecure.

Plus, keep in mind that giving credit where it’s due WILL work in your favor. Taking a humble approach as their supervisor will motivate your team to keep up the good work. And don’t worry — your leadership role will not be overlooked! Every great team has a strong leader beside it and you will be recognized!

4. Says “We” > Says “I”

If management is only looking out for themselves it won’t be long before there’s nobody left to manage. Leaders don’t just expect their employees to put in all the effort alone. Instead, they jump in when deadlines get tight or projects need an extra hand. Your employees will notice this effort from you and will appreciate your leadership. Your manager will notice you’re doing what it takes to get the job done and might even notice how you’re coaching and guiding employees while in the trenches with them.  

A boss will take the mentality that they are above such work, but a leader is one who is ready to say, “We can do this, team!” 

5. Gives Advice > Criticizes 

Choosing how you correct problems on the job indicates your leadership qualities. Criticizing employees might stop an error, but it’s not going to teach anyone how to improve.

Jumping to criticism instead of offering advice can be a hard habit to break. Especially if you’re used to being treated that way – you might not even notice you do it! Making the effort to turn this around is totally worth it!

You can start by looking at mistakes as learning opportunities instead of nuisances. Giving employees advice on how to improve will not only fix situations in the short-term, but it will also lead to long-term growth in future problem solving.   

Leader > Boss 

There’s no doubt about it: Leader > Boss. Growing your leadership qualities is a great way to make a difference with your employees. Take ownership of your management style. Find areas that you can improve your relationship with your employees. And, most importantly, lead by example. 

Westphal Staffing Can Help

We know you’re busy! Our job is to take the long and arduous process of scheduling, screening, interviewing, background checking, and onboarding off your plate. We know recruitment, you know HR; it’s a good marriage of resources and talent. Partner with us for a less stressful process of finding the best candidate for your job. From basic office to the C-Suite, we are your regional resource for professional positions. 

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