Do you know the difference between leader and boss?

Do you know the difference between leader and boss?

When we talk about management, it is very common to see people using the concepts of boss and leader as synonyms. However, in corporate practice, being a boss or a leader is not the same thing.

Bosses have a more authoritarian, centralizing and hierarchical management style. Meanwhile, leaders guide their subordinates through inspiring attitudes and a more horizontal management model.

These characteristics of each management profile make all the difference in the corporate environment and results. In this article, we explain more about the difference between a leader and a boss and provide some tips on how to become a good manager.

The difference between leader and boss

Even though the words boss and leader are often used as synonyms, it is seen in the job market that these two profiles have many differences.

The boss is that authoritarian figure, who centralizes decisions within himself and sees employees as mere subordinates — who must follow his instructions without question.

The figure of the boss was consolidated during the Industrial Revolution period, when a supervisor or person in charge was needed to guarantee high production on the assembly line. In this sense, the boss was responsible for guaranteeing results through pressure and demands from employees.

Thus, among the main characteristics of a boss, we can mention:

  • centralization of main project responsibilities and information;
  • refusal or aversion to opinions contrary to yours;
  • use of his authority to pressure and excessively demand his subordinates;
  • tendency not to listen or offer space for debate with employees;
  • prioritizes processes over people;
  • inflexibility to meet and accommodate the demands of its employees;
  • Failure to recognize the need to encourage employees.

Currently, this management profile is losing space in the job market. After all, such a strict hierarchy has not proven to be effective, both in terms of bringing results to organizations and the climate of the work environment.

Instead of the boss, the figure of the leader has dominated the market more, with his ability to engage and motivate the team through his example and a more empathetic stance.

A leader is someone who enables their employees to develop and inspires trust and respect. All this without having to impose yourself in an authoritarian way or depend on an extremely hierarchical structure.

In other words, even if opinions are contrary to his, the leader is always open to dialogue, creating a good organizational environment among all employees.

Therefore, the main characteristics of a leader are:

  • more horizontal management, with space for everyone to bring their opinions and feel heard;
  • provide feedback whenever necessary;
  • empathy and respect for the diversity of its employees ;
  • promotion of initiatives that seek recognition of the work of its employees;
  • development of actions so that employees can work on their skills and grow in their area;
  • know how to delegate;
  • ability to resolve internal conflicts peacefully;
  • Engage and motivate the team by example.

12 leadership soft skills to develop

Now that you understand the difference between a leader and a boss, you may be wondering: what skills should I work on to provide good leadership for my employees?

After all, being a good leader involves a series of skills that go far beyond management skills. According to Dale Carnegie, author of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, the most important principles that a good leader must follow are:

  • Know how to criticize: the manager must communicate to the team that they are not meeting expectations, but without failing to recognize the team’s qualities.
  • Recognize your own mistakes: leaders are also human, that is, they have flaws. Admitting when you make a mistake is a way to gain the team’s trust and also helps someone change their behavior.
  • Suggest instead of ordering: instead of simply giving orders, the manager can take demands to the team in the form of suggestions or questions.
  • Praise strengths: just as the manager must know how to criticize, he needs to know how to praise genuinely.
  • Encourage excellence: the team’s respect is reflected in better results and goals achieved.
  • Transform problems into challenges: the manager must make tasks as simple as possible for the team, based on optimism and encouragement.

To achieve these principles, the soft skills that a manager needs to develop are:

  1. Assertive communication ;
  2. Collaborative work;
  3. Adaptability ;
  4. Problem-solving ability;
  5. Self-confidence;
  6. Emotional intelligence ;
  7. Analytical thinking;
  8. Negotiation ;
  9. Conflict management ;
  10. Time management ;
  11. Empathy;
  12. Resilience.

To develop these skills, it is important to have self-knowledge, create an action plan and invest in continuing education.

About the Author

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