The difference between a leader and boss

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 10 February, 2021 07:45:33AM
The difference between a leader and boss

Every team has a boss, but what employees require is a leader who will help them fulfil goals and company objectives. Bosses are known to manage their employees, while leaders inspire them to innovate, think creatively, and chase distinction.

Albert Munyabugingo, the co-founder and CEO of  Vuba Vuba Africa Ltd, explains that being a leader requires you to bear in mind that no one is good at everything and that people learn at different paces. 

If it’s about hiring, it’s always better to hire characters and train skills than the other way around. If it’s about leading an existing team, learn from their existing way of operating and with your knowledge, challenge their day-to-day processes, and be willing to be challenged where needed too, he says. 

“Being a leader in a domain you are not yet familiar with is a bit tricky as even if you have good leadership skills, it’s imperative to accept that you can always learn from everyone as junior as they are, and structure their way of operating. Do not demand for the impossible, this will lead people to over promise and under deliver,” Munyabugingo says. 

He also notes that unlike bosses, leaders have regular conversations with employees and get them involved while performing diverse tasks, and respect their points of view even if they differ from the employer’s.

Munyabugingo adds that bosses are more concerned about how a worker executes their work, but are not bothered about their lives outside work; and leaders, where possible, get to understand people’s lives outside work. Sometimes people underperform because the office or work-life interferes with their personal lives.

Marcel Nkwain, Country Manager of EXCI-MAA Rwanda, an audit firm located in Kacyiru, says that the difference between the two lies in the attitude of the person and their understanding in the management of collaborators.

For instance, he says, a leader sees himself as part of the team while leading by example, whereas a boss sits and delegates without proper instructions while hoping to get the job done.

“A leader understands that when his collaborators are treated well, the effect will be hard work and commitment from co-workers. A leader shares the vision of the company with employees and makes them feel like they belong, and they in turn put in their best efforts for the achievement of the company’s goals,” Nkwain says.

He also adds that generally, a leader creates an atmosphere of comfort and freedom around the workplace whereas, a boss in most cases creates an atmosphere of fear. Being a leader requires an attitude to be built, not just a skill to be learned.

Bosses are mostly known to manage work while a leader guides people, a boss has the tendency to control workers and what they do. This behaviour and frame of mind cripples productivity and growth. A leader is not caught up in controlling workers and work; instead, that person relies on trust and inspires workers to trust others.

Business News Daily, a business platform, states that bosses discipline; leaders mentor. Employees are human, and mistakes are to be expected. Who you are as a boss is evident in how you deal with mishaps. While bosses are more likely to use a reward or punishment system to discourage poor behaviour, great leaders understand that employees benefit from encouragement and mentorship. If an employee performs well in a specific line of work, that strength should be recognised and mastered.

The website also indicates that bosses delegate tasks while leaders delegate authority. For instance, a boss focuses on the objectives of their department and is stringent in following protocol to achieve those goals. They think for the short term, delegate tasks to their subordinates and tend to micromanage. A boss has key objectives to meet, whereas a leader will set the long-term vision for the team and use it as a key motivator.

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