Though these words might seem interchangeable, there is actually a huge gap in meaning between what they have to offer. Choosing who you want to be or what type of worker you want to become (and that others decide they want to become) can greatly change the entire tone of your company, and its respective working environment.

So, what is the difference between a boss and a leader, anyway?

A boss is someone who is in charge. They often delegate and tell others what they should or shouldn’t be doing at any given time. They like status and holding power over other workers.

A leader is someone who takes tasks into their own hands. They lead by example and show others how they should act within a specific job. Leading often means training or motivating others and ensuring that they are doing what they need to accomplish.

Often times that means a leader does the work themselves, ensuring that it gets done well and in a timely manner. They take responsibilities personally. They get to know their workers, including who is better equipped to perform each task. They’re not just there to punch a clock and “earn” a paycheck, they want to make a difference.

A leader can also be a boss, but a boss is not always a leader. Whether working yourself, looking to hire, or working for others, it is always better to have a leader in charge than one who only wants to be a boss.

Leaders not only get better work done, they inspire others to be better workers themselves. Training under a leader ensures the next generation of bosses will lead their own respective teams.

Are you a leader when working with others? Or are you a boss looking to get things done as quickly as possible? Have you worked for a leader or a boss? How did you see your personal work habits change under each’s authority? How did the brand as a whole benefit (or wane) under different styles of upper management?

Take a look at these differences between a leader versus a boss, and take your personal experiences into account for a better approach. To learn more or to consider training courses that can help this cause, get in touch with Diamond today.

MG (Retired) Mike Diamond is CEO and founder of Diamond Strategy Group. Diamond Strategy Group is a leadership development and consulting company. We focus on improving the quality of leadership within organizations by utilizing the same methods Mike and his consultants have used in both military and civilian sectors. We invite you to stay connected! Visit us online at and connect with Mike Diamond Strategy Group on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter! E-mail us at!

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