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  • Zari Zavala-Ruiz

Are You a True Leader or Just a Really Great Boss?


Many people associate being a leader with any form of management position, however, there’s a huge difference between a leader and a boss. To succeed as a manager or supervisor, it’s important to continually assess your leadership qualities and style to ensure you are providing your team with the guidance they need.


Leaders Influence Their Teams

While bosses are usually known for being able to command their team and tell them what to do, the characteristic that sets a true leader apart is being able to influence your team. Instead of just gaining respect due to a title you’ve been given, a leader will try to encourage their team to think for themselves in order to meet the goals of the organization. A boss will simply offer a set of instructions for their employees to follow, whereas a leader will inspire others to be the best they can be and find the right solution to any issues they may face.


Mentor Instead of Discipline

If you’ve worked for a good boss before, you probably know they weren’t afraid to discipline underperforming members of your team. Everyone makes honest mistakes from time to time, and a true leader will understand this. One of the top leadership qualities is knowing when your team members simply need some guidance to get back on the right path.


A leader will work to learn the strengths and weaknesses of their team members so that they can work to overcome gaps in their skillset and improve their confidence in weaker areas of performance.

Leaders Strive to Inspire Their Employees

While bosses are good at explaining the task at hand to their team, leaders aim to inspire their employees to take action. A leader strives to support and guide their team members through the challenges they are facing. A good leader will work to make their team feel excited about the work they are doing, which will help them to perform to the best of their ability. Leaders will share how important their work is with their team, helping them find value in the everyday tasks they have to complete. They also aren’t afraid to delegate authority to experienced team members instead of just delegating tasks.


Working with a Team

Someone who is a really great boss usually still thinks they are positioned above their employees. They don’t spend the time or energy getting to know their team members, as they view themselves as above them. However, a true leader works to build relationships with their team and views them as equal to themselves. This helps to create a culture that values open and honest communication, allowing a true leader to show compassion during more difficult times. You’ll find that this also offers you advantages as a leader, as your team will see you as a human being and understand that you will have your own challenges in life as well.


By understanding the key leadership qualities that differentiate a leader and a manager, you can try to identify which category you fall into currently. A true leader will work to inspire their team every day, which in time will help to improve your organization’s results and productivity.

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