Are You a Leader or a Boss?

For every leader there are an equal amount of leadership styles. Everyone has a specific way of leading a team or organization and is comfortable with that leadership method. But when it comes down to it, all styles fall into two categories: leading and driving. Consider what the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, had to say about the two variants.

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

Teddy Roosevelt is known for his robust personality and strong will. As a leader, he not only had to sell the vision, but also himself. Building the support of others and the trust that he would be on the front lines with them, Roosevelt gained the respect of his subordinates. One of the most famous examples of this is the legacy of the Rough Riders who saw action in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

Was the 26th President a leader or a boss? The answer comes through a paradox. He was both. As a team supervisor in your organization, you need to zero in on becoming a leader out of being a boss. There needs to be delegation and drive, but to have a fully engaged workforce, a boss must lead the team through example and employee development. Inspire your team to be the best they can with the tools they have and help them see the impact they make every day.

A boss has a staff of yes-men. A leader has a team of innovators. What differences do you see? Let us know in the comments section below!

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One Response to Are You a Leader or a Boss?

  1. Antonia March 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I love this, a nice reminder to everyone of the difference between the two. One of my favourite sayings is similar to your “inspire them to be the best they can..” and I think is a KEY component to leading anyone – Empower your employees and your team to see themselves as better than they, and they will be that person.

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