On multiple occasions people will advise you to be a leader and not a boss. But why so? Is there a difference between being a leader and being a boss? Is being a boss a bad thing? By the way what’s a boss? What’s a leader?
What is a boss?
A boss or being a boss is a title. The term itself is not a formal title, but is used to refer to any higher level employee in a company or organization, including a supervisor, manager, director, or the CEO etc. In its simplest definition Boss is a person who is in charge of an organization, or team, or company and has people under his/her authority. So everyone in such a level of duties and responsibilities can be called “the boss”.
What is a leader?
When someone is responsible for a team, or organisation or company, he or she is expected to provide direction, implement plans, and motivate people to reach their goal. In one word to lead. The methods he or she will use will define him or her as being a Leader – other would say “good leader”- , or just limit him or her to the title of Boss in general term – what others would consider “bad leader”- .These methods of providing directions, implementing plans, and motivating people to reach their goal are what is known as Leadership/managerial Styles. So being a leader is more related to the qualities of the leading person and his abilities of leading than the title he or she has.
So why do people tend to say be leader and not a boss?
The fact is many people tend to associate the bad leadership qualities to the concept of “boss” and associate the good ones to the concept of “leader”. That’s why people say “be a leader and not a boss”. However there is no such thing of “boss” referring to a bad leader because again being a leader has nothing to do with the title you have or do not have but rather your qualities and methods through which you lead your subordinates. What happens there is that there is an entailment: boss being the person in charge to lead and leadership being his or her qualities and method of leading the subordinates. Now there are good qualities and bad qualities, good methods and bad methods. A boss in leading his or her group can favore Integrity, Communication, Honesty, Democracy, Ability to delegate, Gratitude, Influence and many other good qualities which make his leadership a smooth and fine process making him a good leader. Whereas another boss can favor totally the reverse by being too Self-centered, too Authoritarian, Lack of flexibility and enthusiasm, show proof of No integrity or trust or gratitude whatsoever, and be a very Poor communicator. And these qualities are known to be negative making the leader a bad one.
In conclusion, you can be a boss and a good leader as you can be a boss and a bad leader. But being labeled “boss” doesn’t imply you are a bad leader. You are a bad leader only if you behave as such.