Be a leader!  be a boss!

There are leaders and there are bosses!!!

We’ve had a lot of discussions and comparison between a leader & a boss, these discussions tend to cast the leader in good light and the boss in a not so good light.

According to John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

Below is a brief comparison from Tom Ziglar:

  • A leader coaches, a boss drives.
  • A leader depends on goodwill, a boss depends on authority.
  • A leader generates enthusiasm, a boss inspires fear
  • A leader fixes the breakdown, a boss places blame for the breakdown
  • A leader shows how its done, a boss knows how its done.
  • A leader develops people, a boss uses people.
  • A leader gives credit, a boss takes credit.
  • A leader asks, a boss commands
  • A leader says “Let’s go”, a boss says “go”

The list is not exhaustive as I have come across a lot more.

But from my experience, I have actually discovered that it’s not really a choose this or that approach, its more of a mix & match.

Just like we don’t choose the family we belong to or the parents we have, so it is that we don’t really choose our managers at work.

As a child growing up I’ve seen both sides of my mother, the good side where she coaches, loves & showers me with a lot of gifts that makes me feel she is the best in the world & I’ve also seen the “bad” side where she is a hard task mistress & a tough disciplinarian using her authority & ensuring that I am on the straight & narrow.

Now that I am older & a father, I understand that I needed these 2 sides to come out great. A lot might argue against this & say you need to be a leader, while others will say be a boss, but I’ve seen over the years that the best approach is to BE A LEADER & BE A BOSS when the need arises.

In my career, I have been privileged to lead project teams & manage people & I have been in situations where I’ve had to be a boss in driving people, using the full extent of my authority, showing what I know how to do in order to keep the team members on the straight & narrow so as to ensure a timely delivery of set objectives & some times I’ve had to be a leader coaching my team, creating an atmosphere of motivation & enthusiasm depending on the situation.

As someone in management, the most important skill is the emotional intelligence, the ability to know when to switch from being a leader to a boss, from a boss to a leader or using equal measures of both.

The drive shouldn’t be about being one & not the other, but to be whatever is required by our subordinates to ensure they realize their innate potentials.

Just like parents, our mission as managers is to ensure that our subordinates grow & turn out to be excellent people we can be proud of. A lot of the times, they might not like it but its actually to their benefit.

This is my snippet, I am SHALOMESQ


3 thoughts on “Be a leader!  be a boss!

  1. The harsher or firmer side of leaders is what followers call ‘bossy’ but this is required because leaders usually see the bigger picture which followers may not see. Your article gives a good balance.


    1. Thanks for the feedback Godreigns and I particularly like your expression ” The harsher or firmer side of leaders is what followers call bossy”. This is what I have seen in my experience and I thought to share.


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