Difference Between Leader and Boss

Leader vs Boss

Leader and boss are two words that are always used interchangeably. Although both words are used to refer to an individual who has some level of authority in an organization, each word has its own definition. Both leader and boss are individuals that their subordinates look up to. The leader or the boss will usually provide their team with constructive criticism, ideas and solutions to their problems.


A leader is an individual who is capable of motivating his or her followers. He or she has an open mind to accept criticism, challenges and ideas from his or her subordinates. While a leader does not bully his or her followers to do as he or she bids, but rather, pushes them to do better. A leader is respected and loved by the followers not only because of the seniority or the authority of his level but also of his ability, qualities as well as character.


Boss is a term that is usually bestowed upon an individual because of his or her seniority or the level of authority. A boss is usually respected mainly because of these factors and more often than not, a boss exercises his authority over his subordinates to ensure that they perform towards the welfare of his or her organization. The title of “boss” depends solely upon his position in an organization and is not based upon his or her individual characteristics, qualities or values.

What is the difference between Leader and Boss?

Both leader and boss are individuals that are in charge of a project or a company. Both possess some level of authority because of which their subordinates look up to these individuals. However, the two terms when examined in depth carry different definitions and implications.

A leader encourages; a boss pushes his followers. A leader inspires his followers; a boss promotes fear.  A boss assumes authority by imposing fear. To become a leader one has to lead by example. In order to be a boss, one merely needs to make orders and wait for results. A leader is more effective than a boss. He or she is admired, respected and appreciated because of his or her personal qualities, capabilities and attitude. A boss is merely feared because of his or her position in an organization.


Leader vs Boss






Promotes fear

Lead by example

Make orders, bosses around

Shows how it is done

Do not show how it is done

Respected for their quality, attitude

Assumes authority by imposing fear


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Manager and Leader