Boss versus Leader: The Never-Ending Battle

Boss versus Leader – Which Are You?

As you grow your small business you may need to expand your team. Will you be able to lead effectively? Or will you be a boss that will drive your team members away? Knowing the boss versus leader style is important for you to know as you grow.

Having the right style to lead other people can make or break your small business. Of course, having the right people in place is key too for your business’s success.

boss versus leader

Leaders Are Inspiring

Leaders differ from bosses because they can inspire other people. Just what does it mean  to inspire someone? It makes others feel an urgency to do something or to feel something.

leaders inspire

Bosses do not give others the urgency to do something. They may say it is urgent but they don’t inspire others to feel that same urgency. A boss versus leader will command someone to get it done. They won’t inspire them.

When workers or people feel inspired they will do the best job that they can.

When workers or people feel inspired they will do the best job that they can. #inspire Click To Tweet

A Boss versus Leader Watches versus Teaching

Next, a good leader will teach others to accomplish tasks on their own. When others know what to do they will perform more and that helps the business. If workers are unsure of what to do they will have to search out answers that may not be right.

Therefore, the tasks at hand may not get done right. A good leader knows this and is not afraid of his workers doing a better job than himself. That should be a goal of a good leader running an organization.

fish quote

A good leader will teach others to accomplish tasks on their own. #leadership Click To Tweet

Listening Skills Make a Good Leader Versus Boss

If you ever worked for anyone you may know you work better if an idea was your own. Great leaders know this and listen to their workers who have ideas. They allow them to test their ideas out. A bad boss will hear them but will not listen or validate their ideas. This can stifle an organization.

leaders listening

Great leaders know to be successful and grow they must listen to their workers. These workers are in the thick of it day in and day out. Whether they are in the production department running things or on the sales team talking to customers all day, they understand what makes the company tick.

Inquires versus Commands Make a Leader Great

The best leaders also know to ask questions of their workers. They don’t just give out commands. Leaders ask and seek more information to make informed decisions.

These great leaders go around to different departments and talk with each and every member of their staff to learn more. Therefore, they don’t stay behind closed doors all day and avoid the people that work for them.

Leaders ask and seek more information to make informed decisions. #leadership Click To Tweet

A Boss versus Leader is Hands off Instead of Hands-on

Have you ever worked for someone who rolled up their sleeves and helped out? That’s a great quality of a leader. They will always do something that their workers would do. It is not beneath them to help those working for them.

On the negative side, a boss versus a leader is always hands-off and does not want to help out. They just want to give out orders, one after another.

On the other hand, a leader that rolls up his or her sleeves and works alongside their staff will notice more work from their staff too. It’s a way of inspiring them to do more as well.

Great Leaders Are Supportive

Having a supportive boss is really important to most people today. They want and demand a work-life balance that their own parents didn’t have. They want someone who is supportive of them if they need to take time to see the kids’ school play or dance recital. Older workers may need to tend to their elderly parents. Workers today want to be part of a happy workforce.

Bosses that are nagging their workers and calling them on off-hours drive away their best workers.

Bosses May Have Unclear and Impossible Goals

Moreover, a leader will have clear goals for their workers. They will set realistic goals that will make their workers feel accomplished and valued. The people working for a leader know what is expected of them.

Likewise, I once had a job in sales where my goal was very unrealistic. I had a million-dollar goal for ad sales. It was during the time when ad budgets were all being cut in the 2008 recession.

The boss wanted me to generate a million dollars in new revenue in a single quarter. I was able to generate $125,000 but that was not good enough. I kept thinking where will I be able to find a million dollars in the smallest state in the union in 3 months’ time? That was an unrealistic goal. It did not inspire me!

Finally, last year I went through the same thing but this time I did not stay. I left that company after 25 years.

Do you know the #1 reason people quit their jobs? It’s because of a bad boss. Don’t become one when you grow your business! Be the inspiring leader that you would like to work for.

Do you know the #1 reason people quit their jobs? It's because of a bad boss. Don't become one when you grow your business! #leadership Click To Tweet

This Infographic below is brought to you by Wrike free project tracking tools! It offers some great tips for those who lead others and are growing their small businesses.

Boss vs. Leader: The Never-Ending Battle Between Power and Leadership

Which style are you? The boss versus leader or a little of each? I’d love to know more in the comments below.

  • That infogrpahic is one of the best I’ve seen on the topic of leadership. I abhor the thought of being a “boss.” I want to be a leader and want to be led by leaders. A boss is only stifling, closed minded and a short-term thinker. I’ve worked for those. And it’s suffocating.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Hamilton. Yes, a leader sounds so much better, doesn’t it? Boss sounds old school today 🙂 Thanks for your input.

  • David Cross says:

    Hey Lisa, great article!
    The worst is when one of your co-workers, who is/was your friend, gets a promotion and becomes your “boss”. He knows everything about you, and he will use it against you.
    I had to find another job because of this reason. It is sad, that people in power play the “boss”, when they could achieve much more if they were a true leader.
    Wish you a great weekend Lisa!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi David, That is sad to see happen but I can see how it could with some people. I would hope that it doesn’t happen often as many big companies do like to promote from within. Thanks for coming by and welcome to Inspire to Thrive. Have a great new week ahead! I hope you like the new job 🙂

  • Well now, you’ve reached into one of my fields of expertise… and done a pretty good job of it. I think you’ve been reading some of my stuff! lol

    I never use the term “boss” because I don’t believe in it for myself. I didn’t like when people called me that and I certainly never called anyone else that. I’m all about true leaders and leadership, loyalty and ethical behavior, being accessible and courteous while sharing success with others and being ready to accept some of the blame when things go awry (some of it that is lol).

    Good job with this article Lisa! 😉

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Mitch, thank you. I have been reading your stuff for years now. I would say 8 years! 🙂
      I don’t like that term too well either. It can have a negative feel to it. A leader is much better. Accepting blame is huge with leaders! Bosses never accept any blame. They pass it on. Thanks for your input on this Mitch and for coming by. I hope you haven’t had too much rain in your area, been seeing it on the news.

  • Shaine Williams says:

    It’s a nice article. Thanks for providing such a helpful information. Appreciated!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Shaine, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. Which of these did you like the best? Thanks for coming by and have a great day!

  • Rich says:

    I have live on both sides of the fence here. I was once just an employee then I moved into management and became the boss. The years of being an employee allowed to recognize the traits of the best bosses I had as well as the weaknesses of the worst. The one thing that stuck as the best trait was leading by example. This is the attitude I have towards managing my staff. Great post and thank you for sharing.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Rich, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. I love being lead by example. SO much better than being told what to do, day in and day out. Thank you for your input. Have a great day and week ahead there.

  • David says:

    Get post! So many people lose sight of being a leader when they become the boss. I am in management and find that the only way to to get the results you want is by leading your staff by example and being the mentor. People will work much harder when they feel like they are part of a team. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi David – yes, I wonder how that happens? Being their mentor is key. People don’t want to be bossed around. If they feel like they are part of the team they will work harder, so true! Thanks for your input and have a great day!

  • Hi Lisa,

    Great topic! It is not in my nature to be a boss. I tend to be more of a leader. I like to help others and suggest to them what to do. When I’m teaching something, its always great to see how the “student” goes about to do a specific task. Sometimes I learn that its better than my own way he he he.
    Leading people is a responsibility. One has to listen carefully to what they are saying and/or doing. We can show kindness to others by leading them. I find it more effective than “bossing” them around.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Donna, Yes – I think you are a wonderful leader Donna! You can surely teach and inspire others by what you do. Most people do NOT like to be bossed around today. Kindness is a must! Thanks for coming by Donna, have a great new week. I hope you have been enjoying the weather there!

  • Leaders are so much more compassionate and uplifting Lisa. Around the world, bosses tend to be more results-driven and less compassionate, using fear and force versus love and power to manipulate folks to get the job done. This leads to inefficiencies in the work place. Skilled leaders create more leaders and also co-create lean, effective, efficient businesses. Super post and message.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ryan, oh yes, you got that right about results-driven. Fear and force does not work, I left a job after 25 years for that reason. If you don’t make this ridiculous goal you will get a warning, etc. It didn’t matter that at the time there was a big recession or people were dropping out of print faster than you could blink.
      Thanks for coming by Ryan and I’d love to know how long you will be around the East Coast? Love to do a bloggers meet up! Have a great day and week 🙂

  • Moss Clement says:

    A leader is more down to earth than a boss. Leaders will always look for ways to create a conducive working environment, online a boos who will want to boss everybody around. The points you presented are great, Lisa. They inspire others and help them take action and move ahead.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Moss, I like that analogy, A leader is more down to earth than a boss. I’ve had a few of those too over the years and they have been awesome, one a mentor for life too. Thank for your coming by and commenting. Have a great day Moss!

  • Gaurav Kumar says:

    The history of battle between leadership and power is as old as the history of mankind itself. Where leaders want to gain power and powers do not want to leave their place create continuous struggle.

    This is definitely an awesome infographic.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Gaurav, That is an excellent point! It’s been around since the history of mankind. I wonder how many have learned from this history? Thanks for coming by and for your input on this one Gaurav. Have a great week ahead there!

  • Vishwajeet Kumar says:

    Hello Lisa,

    Awesome post. In a working industry, Bosses do not have a good reputation. They are mostly known as an arrogant and miserable person. They try to dominate on their employee. To create a working environment with a collective growth approach leaders do well. Leaders always motivate their followers. The best example is the Armed forces, where we see discipline and every platoon follows his leader’s orders and advice. Thanks for sharing these awesome and informative post.

    Have a Great Day 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you Vishwajeet for coming by on this one. That’s a great word: Dominate! A leader would not do that. I was inspired by the infographic for this one as I’m growing a team here. I would not want to be like the boss Wrike has shown here in their infographic. Have an awesome weekend!

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