Boss vs. Leader: 20 Ways of Difference

Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” -Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine Founder

Leadership is a key to team effectiveness. In John Maxwell’s 5 levels of Leadership a leader starts at Level 1- the Position level. At level 1 people follow you because they have to – you are the Boss!  Level 5, the highest level, is the Respect level.  At the respect level people follow you because of who you are and what you represent – a True Leader. To get the most out of your team make sure you are a true leader not just a boss… the differences are:

  1. A boss sees today; a Leader envisions tomorrow
  2. A boss relies on authority; a Leader on goodwill
  3. A boss knows it all; a Leader is always learning.
  4. A boss talks more; a Leader listens more.
  5. A boss inspires fear; a Leader instills enthusiasm
  6. A boss demands model behavior; a Leader models desired behavior
  7. A boss uses people; a Leader develops people
  8. A boss takes the credit; a Leader gives it.
  9. A boss demands respect; a Leader earns respect
  10. A boss gives answers; a Leader seeks solutions.
  11. A boss directs; a Leader coaches.
  12. A boss criticizes; a Leader encourages.
  13. A boss is all about “me;” a Leader is all about “we.”
  14. A boss places blame; a Leader takes accountability.
  15. A boss micro-manages; a Leader delegates
  16. A boss protects ego; a Leader reveals vulnerability.
  17. A boss looks to do things right; a Leader looks to do the right things
  18. A boss demands results; a Leader inspires performance.
  19. A boss deals with complexity; a Leader deals with Change
  20. A boss says ‘Go’; a Leader says ‘Let’s Go’

All teams have a boss, but they really need a Leader.


Patrick Leask
Tampa, FL
Award Winning Business Strategist and Coach.
Helping Professional Service & Project Based Businesses Accelerate Growth.
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