Contrary to popular belief, the words boss, manager, and leader are not the same. For starters, they differ in their very motivation for their job. A boss is driven by fear, usually a fear of being fired. For this reason, their focus is on making profits and hitting goals. They don’t have much time for empathy or mentorship. Leaders, by contrast, are motivated by a passion for learning and teaching. They love seeing others succeed and are proud to be a small part of it. 

In other to get subordinates to be productive, bosses depend on the authoritarian style of leadership. There is no diplomacy in how decisions are made. Employees are given instructions and are expected to fulfill them. Leaders welcome input from employees and encourage them to be a part of problem-solving. Bosses also tend to be short-sighted, putting out daily fires instead of focusing on prevention and underlying causes. In a challenging situation, bosses are reactionary and impulsive, whereas leaders and calm and collected. Leaders are able to make sensible, sound decisions because they have put a strong framework into place. In addition, a boss depends fully on their positional power in order to have an impact on their subordinates. Good leaders don’t even need to be higher up in a food chain to accomplish this. Their influence has nothing to do with power or position.

Although they will be flexible and show empathy, a good leader will not be your friend because, in the long run, they want you to learn to be self-accountable. The only way to learn this is by making mistakes. They will be right there with you to help your confidence grow, unlike a boss who is too busy looking at profit margins and casting blame. 

Personal success is also measured differently, depending on if you have a boss or a leader. People with a boss mentality see titles and corner offices and promotions as proof of climbing the food tree and being successful. A leader looks at the people they’ve helped to succeed and the overall impact they’ve made on a company or a team. They do not merely put their own gains first. Leaders are naturally this way, not taught. This is a pride that is innate from the moment they’re born.

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