Many people confuse the difference between a boss and a leader. There are many factors that are overlooked, although they may sound as though they have the same responsibilities. The best thing to remember is that a leader leads and a boss (manager) manages. Ultimately, bosses can grow and become leaders through practice and development. The key thing is to understand the difference in characteristics. Here are the top differences of a boss vs. leader to keep in mind.

1. Positioning

Titles are a big distractor when it comes to the differences between managers and leaders. Managers tend to remind others that they are “the boss”. Unlike bosses, leaders don’t remind others of their title. Typically a leader is chosen through the people that are inspired by that person, therefore many leaders may not realize their “position” until later. A leader works with the team on the same level, to create mutual understanding and communication amongst each other. This creates inspiration and motivation, rather than instilling fear into employees. Leaders are there to help create and do, while managers tend to oversee while focusing on the title/ hierarchy of their positions.

2. Team Work

One of the biggest factors that define the difference between a leader and a manager is the ability to develop and lead a team. A leader focuses on creating relationships with others in order to establish an effective team. Leaders know that an effective relationship and trust among team members will lead to overall positive outcomes, therefore, leaders trust their members to complete their tasks and innovate their ideas. This allows for team members to build their self-confidence and become more productive. Bosses (or managers), on the other hand, don’t make relationships a priority. Managers focus on getting things done, in order to move onto the next task. Learning and growing through the process is the least of their concerns. Bosses focus on an individual’s position, rather than overall teamwork. Managers tend to create fear and distraction through micro-managing, which ultimately leads to an unhealthy relationship between the boss and employee. Managers don’t expect to establish and grow a relationship amongst the team because their philosophy of getting things done has already been established through past managers.

3. Leading vs. Managing

There is a huge difference between leading and managing. Many bosses tend to focus on managing rather than leading, but in order to reach an overall goal, successful leadership is necessary. Leadership is a process that helps develop others. Leaders know that overall success happens because of everyone that contributes effort. People are more likely to contribute when they are being praised for their work and feel as though their position is important to the team. Leaders focus on helping others learn and grow through their mistakes.  Managing is a job that tends to oversee another’s position. Managers tend to provide very little feedback and have a “right” or “wrong” attitude for their employees. They focus on getting work done through a strict process that has already been established by someone else, therefore taking risks is not something that managers tend to do. Leaders on the other hand, will take risks and challenges with the philosophy of learning and growing throughout the process. They believe these types of actions will allow a member to boost critical thinking and problem solving skills, ultimately developing an individual.