What's the Difference Between a Boss and a Leader?

Every other month, we will be hosting Vector Technical Resource's blog, Tech Talent Talk. Below is the first instantiaion of this new series from President Marc Berman. Enjoy!

From an early age, my grandfather was an instinctual entrepreneur with a knack for building relationships and businesses. He always told me, "the sign of a good leader is having others follow them."

The other day, this motto came to mind when my daughter sent me the following cartoon:

The cartoon depicts a "Boss" sitting atop a chariot at his desk, pointing a finger and dictating at three men pulling him forward. Below the image of the Boss, there is an image of an empty chariot with a "Leader" heading his team of pullers. 

Today, I want to talk about the difference between a "Boss" and a "Leader."

A boss is that individual that supervises his or her employees. He watches them to make sure they’re working and on task. At his worst, the Boss treats his employees like lowly servants. At his best, he gets the job done but goes no further. He has no interest in bettering his employees, encouraging them to take training courses or improve themselves;a boss is not a teacher. 

A leader is something very different.

A leader is a motivator. He takes time to build teams of people who respect him. As the cartoon demonstrates, he is right in there with his employees, learning and collaborating with them. As my grandfather said, a leader’s team “follows him” because he believes in leading by example. His talents—his ability to get the job done, to be innovative, etc.— are inspiring to his team. I keep using the word “team” because that’s how the Leader perceives his people: not as lowly “employees” but as respected members of his work family, his “teammates.”