CB Recruitment Blog

Leader vs Boss: What’s the Difference? Which is Best in 2023?

Cover image for Leader vs Boss: What’s the Difference? Which is Best in 2023?

Leader vs boss? How do you differentiate between the two? After all, there isn’t a job description for a boss, and even though the characteristics of a boss vs a leader may seem the same, they aren’t. The only similarity is that both roles demand responsibility for leading and managing a team. As an employee, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the impact of working for a boss vs a leader. Maybe you’re rewriting your resume, and looking for a fresh start with a career in cryptocurrency.

A boss may focus more on achieving business goals rather than developing relationships with a team to help achieve business outcomes. Leaders are relationship-led communicators, using people skills to create positive results in the workplace.

In the guide to learning the difference between a boss and a leader, you’ll discover why, in most cases, organisations with strong leadership tend to have higher staff retention levels and happier employees who share and work towards the vision of the company leaders.


The definition of a boss

There may be some grey areas in the boss vs leader difference because sometimes employees may affectionately refer to a leader as “the boss” as it may be the company’s owner.

A boss traditionally exercises authority and control in the workplace, which is the main difference between boss vs leader. A boss delegates employee duties and supervises tasks.

The characteristics of a boss may include: –

  • Dictatorial: A “my way is the only way” approach
  • Micromanager: Doesn’t allow the team to get on with their jobs
  • Poor communication: Is not an active leader and doesn’t make allowances for different personality types. In addition, a boss may lack active listening skills and only hear things on a surface level
  • Goal orientated: Puts goals and processes ahead of people
  • Lacks collaboration skills: A boss may put themselves above the team, adopting an authoritative attitude. They don’t take the time to understand team members and learn how to maximise strengths and weaknesses
  • Criticises and lack of praise: Overly focused on highlighting mistakes and not praising employees for good work, good attitude or approach to a task

If you’re unhappy working with a boss, check out 5 most in-demand jobs in cryptocurrency or the top 5 most popular metaverse jobs.

The definition of a leader

The true definition of a leader vs boss is a person who leads by example. They positively influence others by encouraging trust and confidence in their vision. A leader can be in a management role, a team leader or the owner of an organisation.

What are the qualities of a leader?

The difference between a boss vs leader is notable in the leadership qualities. For example, leaders may possess the following attributes: –

  • Inspiring: The best leaders encourage employees to want to do their best
  • Excellent communication skills: A great listener and clear communicator able to adapt to communication styles within the team
  • Shows appreciation: Rewards the team with praise when they have done good work
  • Has good foresight: A good leader can look ahead and anticipate potential roadblocks
  • Motivator: Can uplift a team when motivation is waning
  • Influencer: The best leaders have a natural ability to influence others positively
  • Role model: Happy to help people achieve their goals
  • Does the right things: An ethical approach to projects and encourages the same of the team
  • Are change makers: When a leader sees organisational errors, instead of complaining, they strive to change a situation for the better

Leader vs boss: The major differences

Leaders are solution-focused. A boss is more directive

A leader motivates and influences a team to do their best work, to go the extra mile to achieve success for the project and organisation. They encourage the team to grow, think independently, utilise their problem-solving skills and become recognised contributors in their own right.

A boss generally doesn’t permit as much personal autonomy in a team. This situation can significantly restrict growth if team members aren’t allowed to problem-solve and contribute ideas.

Leaders are generous with praise. A boss expects big outcomes

The best leaders recognise and nurture every small achievement from team members. They highlight constructive criticism based on an employee’s behaviour in the workplace rather than focusing on personal failings. A leader follows criticism with a positive statement. For example, “Your data analysis needs more work on xxx but your social media analysis this week was fantastic. It showed great research and detail.”

Leader vs boss: A leader transforms. A boss hears but may not understand

Leaders have excellent active listening skills and can interpret the meaning behind words. They want to understand their team and learn about potentially limiting beliefs. The best leaders can sense when a team member is struggling by reading body language and facial expressions and “hearing” what people aren’t saying. In addition, they are passionate about helping people to overcome issues and grow within the company.

A boss may hear words but fail to absorb the intent or concern behind an employee’s expression. They may try to “manage” people out of worries or stress instead of digging deeper into underlying issues that could affect a project’s success. A poor boss leads to employees writing a resignation letter, and finding a better job.

Leaders connect with people. A boss speaks to people

Leaders focus on building rapport, creating connections with team members, and helping to break down resistance. They understand how language narratives determine the response of others. By influencing team dynamics and changing the dialogue of self-defeating narratives, a leader can help a team into a targeted and empowered focus.

A boss may choose a narrative of their own, failing to make allowances for different communication styles and not reading the underlying “energy” of a team. This approach can lead to communication errors, reduced motivation for a project and diminished confidence in the boss as a leader.

Leaders inspire action. A boss dictates action

A boss may micromanage a team, impatiently dictating their actions. They act authoritatively and fail to see the importance of praising good work.

Micromanaged people don’t do their best work. Employees feel nervous and stressed, pressured by unrealistic standards and worry about the boss’s reaction if they make a mistake or don’t complete the task on time.

Leaders strive to inspire a team to do their best work, are passionate about the company’s mission and values, and lead by example. They are patient and strive to create value, focusing on building trust within a team, assigning responsibility and giving team members autonomy for a task.

Leaders inspire confidence by creating a framework for growth. They are teachers or mentors who actively wish to develop more leaders within a team. They hold themselves accountable for mistakes instead of blaming employees.

Finally, a boss commands respect, but a leader inspires others to respect them by example.

A boss focuses 100% on profits. A leader wants to create global change

Putting profits over people is a common downfall in a failing company. Of course, without profits, a business cannot survive. Still, a boss that puts profits and processes above its people is a person driving a business to lose profitability and people.

Unhappy employees cannot work at their best. You want people who are passionate and excited about the company’s success. They’re cheerleaders to your customers and enjoy being part of the journey. As more jobs become in-demand in cryptocurrency, people are looking for companies with exceptional leadership.

Leaders are not oblivious to profits and processes but focus on the larger picture.

Conclusion: A leader vs boss: what’s the difference? Which is best?

In the boss vs a leader debate, how important is good leadership in a company? Of course, it may depend on the industry. A boss running a building site with new daily contractors may be more effective than a leader at getting jobs done on time.

Leading people who may only be around for a few days or weeks is tricky because there isn’t time to build a relationship. Where timing is of the essence, a boss who can instigate a strong work ethic is the preferred solution.

A workplace with long-term employees is better led by someone with leadership qualities. Why? Because a good leader is a visionary who can positively change the dynamics of workplace culture. They possess the psychological mastery of influencing others to step into a vision, work collaboratively and become passionate about their work.

Here is a reminder of the three core principles behind leadership success: –

  1. A clear vision and understand the journey is as important as the outcome
  2. Inspire people to share their vision and believe that putting people first is the way to success
  3. Work collaboratively to achieve the organisation’s goals

If you’re seeking a leadership role in Web3, contact the CB Recruitment team, submit your resume and discuss your career options today.


Can a boss become a leader?

Becoming a leader takes great skill and finesse. Leaders are people orientated and do not need to take the glory for a positive result. They understand people and seek to create meaningful relationships with others. They believe in autonomy within a team, so people can problem-solve, create solutions and a vision of their own and grow to become leaders.

A boss is reluctant to let go of control and unhappy with a team becoming autonomous workers. It’s the primary boss vs leader difference.

A boss can become a leader, but it is undoubtedly challenging. There are online leadership training courses available, so you can upgrade your skills.

Is a team leader vs boss the same as a leader vs boss?

Anyone who leads others is considered a leader. Managing teams can be tricky, so a team leader with genuine leadership qualities is an effective leader. Even a team member may have leadership skills.

About Author

Jan Barley's profile picture

Jan Barley

Jan is a SEO copywriter, brand advisor, content strategist & case study specialist writing for crypto, recruitment, and SaaS companies. Jan lives in the Cotswold's UK with two rescue dogs. Since 2020, Jan has written hundreds of SEO articles for various crypto companies including CB Recruitment & Coin Bureau.

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