A born leader. We hear that statement frequently, but what does it really mean? In the corporate world, is every boss a leader? And is every leader a boss? The short answer is “no” to both questions.

Let’s look first at the definition (the noun) of the two words. According to Dictionary.com:

BOSS – one who employs or superintends workers
LEADER – a person who guides or leads

Now, let’s look at the verb. I find this insightful because one who is, normally does. A boss would boss and a leader would lead. So, according to Dictionary.com:

BOSS – to supervise or be in charge of; to be domineering or overbearing
LEAD - to go before or with; to show the way

This makes me emphasize again that a boss can be a leader, a leader can be a boss, but neither is necessarily the other. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

Your supervisor, the person you report to, is by default your boss. They can be the biggest of authoritarian figures, full of self-importance and is very self-centered. All too often they look at only one thing, and that’s WHAT needs to be done. Unfortunately, they forget to consider the fact that HOW things get done, or how they request something gets done has a huge impact on the company as a whole.

On the other hand, a leader has that something special that makes people WANT to perform at their best level. Rather than dictate, a leader suggests, coaches and directs by example.

A union shop is a perfect example of bosses. On the assembly line, there are bunch of people being domineered. Get the product out, or else. The line supervisor (boss) is responsible for the numbers. If they numbers aren’t being met, his boss is asking (demanding) for an answer. The trickle down affect at its finest, on up to the plan manager. Each level has a level above to answer to, and a level below to be in charge of.

Take this scenario and turn it into a leader-based assembly line. If there is a problem meeting the numbers, the boss/leader would be at the line helping fix the problem, solve the issue or determine what can be done – working WITH the employees.

A leader creates an atmosphere of cohesiveness, camaraderie, teamwork, and accountability. Creativity is abundant in a leadership environment. On the other hand, the boss (who is not a leader) stifles creativity and self-thinking. People are not important, only results. This becomes apparent very quickly to the employees.

The leader/boss is respected and people want to achieve success to please him/her. The boss gets results through intimidate and being demanding.

Which would you prefer to work for? Which are you?

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Hartman is President of Hartman Inventory, a woman-owned business that provides business and home inventory services. She and her husband Mike also own Hartman Inventory Systems, a complete turnkey home inventory business package for those who want to establish their own inventory company. Cindy writes a blog and is also a freelance writer on topics of disaster preparedness and recovery, small business, product reviews, marketing and networking.

She also serves on the Advisory Board of the International MasterMind Group with Success Coaches Institute where she shares her knowledge and experience on topics of business ownership, entrepreneurship, having a positive attitude and the law of attraction.