Leader and boss

The difference between a leader and a boss is that a leader is one who directs and motivates a team of people without imposing their own ideas, while a boss is an imposed authority who uses his power to command or dictate orders to one or more people.

The figure of an authoritarian boss continues to be valued, especially in traditional companies.

However, in recent decades the emergence of companies led by a new generation and a change in organizational values ​​are generating leaderships oriented to the achievement of results through synergy, collaborative work and horizontal hierarchies.

Importantly, with the right expertise, any leader can occupy a leadership or directing position. But not every boss has the qualities to be a good leader.

DefinitionPerson with the ability to influence others, regardless of whether they occupy a position of power or not.Person who occupies a position of power with respect to another person or group.
  • Self-knowledge.
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Discretion.
  • Team-oriented results.
  • Trust and respect.
  • Inspiration.
  • Process assessment.
  • Authority abuse.
  • Microgestión.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Individuality-oriented results.
  • Obedience from fear.
  • Evaluation of results.


In business, a leader generally occupies a managerial or supervisory position. However, it does not impose its hierarchy on the team, but rather tries to join it, understanding their needs, the talents and abilities of each one and making the most of these resources to achieve the objectives set.

On the other hand, there is also the case of the leader who, without occupying a hierarchical position with respect to his colleagues, is capable of taking the reins of the team since he has the charisma and the emotional and professional tools to guide others.

In an innovative business vision, there are leaders who direct people as a work team, motivating them constructively and together in order to meet the objectives set.

Characteristics of a leader

In general terms, a good leader is characterized by:


In this sense, a good leader tends to have a deep self-knowledge that allows him to recognize his strengths and weaknesses, in such a way that he is able to assume what he can do for the organization and delegate what he does not have enough experience or ability in.

Emotional intelligence

A good leader not only knows how to manage their personal resources, but is also capable of being empathetic and understanding other people’s points of view and circumstances. This makes him a foothold for the team.


A leader knows how to handle the different situations that arise in the organization without resorting to derision or exposing the failings of others. In fact, when a failure occurs, you are the first to take responsibility because you know the team is in your charge.

Team-oriented results

Leaders are often results-oriented, so it is vital for them to get to know their team and make each member want to do their best. As a counterpart, people feel comfortable accomplishing their tasks because they know that their effort is recognized and valued.

Trust and respect

The leader inspires confidence in his team and by doing so he earns the respect of his colleagues, who see in this figure one more colleague they can count on.


A leader not only inspires his team to follow in his footsteps, but encourages his colleagues to continue growing in professional or personal terms, because he knows that a team with greater tools will give better results.

Process assessment

A leader knows that the results are important, but if they are not as expected, he is able to assess all the work that was previously done. See failure as an opportunity to make adjustments in the process.

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A boss is a person who occupies a position that has been imposed on him, beyond his abilities or talents.

In general, the boss assumes the authority conferred on him by his position as a resource to impose his judgment or, in the worst cases, to intimidate his subordinates.

Although the traditional figure of the boss is no longer so common, the belief still persists that results can only be achieved through inflexible methods, which do not take into account the human aspect of the organization.

In the long term, this generates frustration in the teams and this can be reflected both in productivity and in a high turnover of human resources.

In a traditional business vision, the boss is used as an authority figure who commands and orders his subordinates or employees, without taking into consideration their opinions, experience or well-being of them.

In this sense, the authority of the boss is vertical, top-down, authoritarian, and one-sided.

Characteristics of a boss

The figure of a traditional chief is characterized by

Authority abuse

A boss who lacks leadership skills uses his position to dictate his judgment, regardless of the expertise of the team. In this case, what prevails is the desire for control, which manifests itself in a recurring need to remind the team “who’s boss.”


A traditional boss needs to feel that he is in charge of the team, and that is why many times he ends up incurring in micromanagement or “micromanagement”, which is the involvement in all aspects of the work of the team members, even in trivial tasks.

Micromanaging, far from generating positive results, makes the boss spend time and resources taking care of supervising tasks that do not correspond to him, instead of dedicating himself to macro supervision and strategic vision.

On the other hand, excess control in tasks makes employees feel minimized and this can generate an emotional drain that ends up being reflected both in the results and in the relationship between the team and the boss.

Lack of empathy

A boss without leadership is generally not able to connect with his work team. That is why he ignores emotional management, since he either does not know how to do it or, worse still, he does not care.

This lack of empathy translates into a dehumanization of the work team, who are seen simply as a means to achieve goals, without considering their personal circumstances, expectations, fears or points of view.

Individuality-oriented results

Many bosses make the mistake of assuming the achievements of the team as their own, which generates discomfort among subordinates, who are the ones who actually execute the tasks.

In many cases, this mistake is made because the boss naturally assumes that the team is there to execute what he orders. So if the task goes well, the credit goes to you.

Obedience from fear

When the boss is only in charge of imposing his authority and control, what he is creating is a work space in which fear and mistrust are the order of the day. This can lead to friction and wear on the equipment.

This not only translates into a bad relationship between the boss and the employees, but among the team members themselves, who are afraid to voice their concerns or communicate their failures for fear of retaliation.

Results evaluation

The traditional boss only wants to see the results and these must always be positive. There is no assessment of the entire process and resources used by the team.

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