What is the difference between being a boss and being a leader? Many people in positions of authority never even consider that question, because they think that the two terms mean the same thing.

This is incorrect.

People who are appointed to positions of management in a company or organization might be called the boss, but that doesn’t mean that they are truly leading anyone. If this sounds a little confusing, then continue reading to better understand the difference between a leader and a manager.


1. True Leadership Is More Than a Title

Leadership is influence. Just because someone has a title, doesn’t mean that person is a leader.” — John C. Maxwell

No matter what official position one holds in their organization, that person can become a leader and have an influence on others within their department and on the company as a whole. When a person performs their job duties to the best of their ability with a positive attitude and with a spirit of cooperation with others, people around that person will begin to view them highly and look to them as a leader.


2. Leaders Develop Their People

Bosses often focus on goals, profits and quantifiable outcomes with little regard for the people under them who are carrying out the actual work. They push their team to achieve company objectives, but they give little attention to helping them develop the proper skills and mindset that leads to success. They expect much but give little in return.

A leader, on the other hand, focuses on equipping his or her team to perform at the best of their abilities. Leaders achieve success by helping their direct reports overcome obstacles rather than blaming them for poor performance.


3. A Leader Accepts Full Responsibility

Another major difference between bosses and true leaders is that leaders accept full responsibility for the results that their teams produce. They don’t point fingers and assign blame. Rather, they try to understand what is causing problems or poor performance, and then they focus on supporting their team members to improve processes and results. They focus on improving future results rather than shaming or punishing others for past failures.

Anyone can become a leader in their organization, and they don’t need to wait for a promotion to do it. Leadership is influence. People become leaders by contributing to the team, improving their skills, assisting their teammates and accepting responsibility for past failures while focusing on achieving future success.