In today’s world of business with growing competition and the need to achieve business goals in the most effective manner, it’s important to make sure those in the higher up positions of business are doing a good job to motivate their workers.

The key to a successful team, and, therefore, success in the achievement of business objectives, is in the leadership provided by the business. Unfortunately, leadership is a complex issue.

A boss or leader?

While managers may pride themselves on “being the boss,” the connotations associated with the word “boss” are often negative, while those associated with the word “leader” are positive. Bad bosses can result in greater turnover rates and poorer employee performance.

So, are you a leader or a boss? Read on to know the difference.

Leaders inspire and learn

Leaders inspire their team, recognize individual strengths/weaknesses, and challenge team members to grow. They are appreciative of feedback and take necessary action on valuable input by members, considering themselves to be learners in the leadership process.

Bosses, on the other hand, have a “know it all” attitude and don’t invite feedback from team members, nor do they use it to incorporate changes needed. They are driven by their authority and sense of power over subordinates and aren’t afraid to intimidate people to get the job done.

Leaders support and set realistic goals

Not only do leaders take into consideration input from subordinates, but they also support them with the resources they need to get the job done. They help team members stay on the same page and ensure that there’s a collective goal the team is working towards that is clear and measurable. They also understand the importance of balancing work demands and personal life and make efforts to ensure their team benefits from a good work-life balance.

Bosses, by contrast, emphasize on getting the job done at all costs, failing to recognize the need for work-life balance, and penalize subordinates who do not meet business objectives. They often set unrealistic objectives, leaving their team feeling stressed, confused, and scared to ask any questions/seek clarifications.

Leaders are hands-on teachers

Although leaders allow autonomy to their team members, they know when to step in and guide their team. They capitalize on team members’ strengths and guide them to overcome challenges, being more approachable and accessible to the team.

Bosses, on the other hand, merely supervise the performance of team members after single-handedly making decisions affecting the team, and penalize members when challenges arise, leading to a lack of transparency in team interactions.

A leader will sink or swim with the team, but bosses may throw the team under the bus to get ahead and maintain their power.

For more comparisons, check out this infographic brought to you by Wrike:

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