A common trait most successful businesses share is someone at the top who effectively calls the shots. There’s a “captain of the ship” who ensures that vital tasks are completed and things are moving in the right direction. But what’s the difference between being a leader at work and just being someone’s boss? More importantly, how can you make yourself a better leader in order to advance your business?

Common Traits of a Leader

Leaders tend to be respected by their staff. They put in real effort to build relationships and earn the trust of team members. Leaders continually look for ways to develop their staff and equip them for success. They’re into perpetual development and know everyone brings something unique to the table.

They view running a business as a team effort where everyone has an integral role. Leaders also tend to be compassionate and possess a certain wisdom that allows them to delegate tasks with minimal friction.

Common Traits of a Boss

Bosses don’t necessarily have the respect of their staff. They tend to use more of a fear-based approach where they throw their authority around. There’s often a certain level of subjugation involved where employees ultimately acquiesce to their demands. However, most employees do this begrudgingly.

Bosses don’t typically have a strong bond with their staff. In their minds, they’re “above” their employees and may view them as secondary citizens or simply means to achieving their end. They may also have a controlling nature and be prone to micromanaging. Needless to say, this type of approach can have a negative impact on a company in the long run.

How to Be a Better Leader

If you find yourself falling into the “boss” category, it’s not too late to change. It all starts with positive interaction with your staff. Make a concerted effort to maintain a healthy line of communication and be clear about expectations. Also, let employees know they can always turn to you for help.

Next, it’s important to celebrate the accomplishments of your staff. In fact, “The number one reason most Americans leave their jobs is they don’t feel appreciated.” Give credit where it’s due rather than always taking credit for your achievements.

Lastly, you must lead by example. No one likes a hypocrite who holds employees to a high standard they seldom reach themselves. Practice what you preach and “get down in the trenches” along with everyone else.

Knowing the key differences between a leader and a boss is crucial for running your business effectively. If you’re not the kind of leader you’d like to be, make it a point to gradually work toward it by implementing the aforementioned tips.


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