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The Difference Between A Leader And Boss Essay Topics


Is there any difference between leadership and management? Or leadership and management are the same? On a close look it can be seen that many managers are not leaders, though successful in their field. Leaders lead from the front and managers believe in directing controlling and planning and improving the efficiency of the organization. A manager makes the subordinates to work, a leader work with the people. Management philosophers and thinkers have been interested in identifying the difference between a manager and a leader.. Some leaders show management skills and some mangers show leadership skills. (Mccrimmon M, 2007) It is now well established that there is difference between a manager and a leader

Leader leads from front

A leader leads from the front. His language will be like come let us do the work. On the other hand a manager believes in planning and coordinating the work. He uses management techniques to manage others. Followers voluntarily follow the leader. This may not be the case with managers. Subordinates is been asked to obey the instruction of the manager by virtue of his position. The subordinates may be obeying the manager on his leadership skills or may be just as it is part of their duty. It is also common the subordinates dislike the manager and still follows his action to save his or her job. A leader has his interest common to the followers. When the common interest is being identified, people voluntarily follow him. Rather than asking the people to work, a leader prefers to call them for work and they just follow the instructions of a leader. This important quality makes a big difference between the style of functioning of a manger and a leader.

Difference in working style

There is a big difference in the working style of a manager. A leader attracts the people with the charisma he is having. He used to have an upper hand in technological knowledge than the workers. Leadership may not have any relevance with the functioning of the organization. On the other hand the management is different in its way of functioning. A manager keeps the organizational priority at his best. He has to do certain tasks as per the guidelines set by the organization. He then plans to achieve this by his people. Here the manager uses the modern management tools. He is interested in directing, planning and organizing. To make this effective he also uses modern management tools. A leader innovates and the manager administers (Bennis W, Doyal S, 2006). Leadership is setting up vision and Direction and management is implementation of this (Doyal S, 2006).

A leader set his vision and the followers follow his vision almost voluntarily. He seldom needs force to attract towards him in execution of his direction and vision. On the other hand the manager executes the vision of the organization. On his journey towards this he will also be using leadership skills to effectively manage his people. A manger with leadership skills can effectively manage the organization. There should be a force attracting the followers or a subordinate to the person directs them. In case of leadership it is often the quality of the leader or his charisma that attracts the people to him. On the other hand the manager and the leader should be the two sides of the coin. Latest management trends show an inclination towards improving the leadership qualities of a manager. It is accepted that a manager should improve the output of the organization but it should be on the cost of the people working in the organization.

Directing Function

The directing function of the manager is making people ready to perform certain task or assigning certain task to the people. This functional area of the manger has more to do with leadership. Once a task is to be performed, the concerned manager has to detail people or direct people to accomplish the task. This is mostly done in different ways by a manager and a leader. However both leader and a manager use the function of directing. Followers voluntarily work as per the direction where as manager needs to have something else for motivating the people to work. This may be different to different organization and also as per the management style it differs. Organizations have special structure and policies to motivate the people to work and managers are part of it.

In the field of emergency medical services the directing function of the manager has a lot to do with routine jobs. Things are to be done at high pace and many times immediate decisions are to be taken. The chances of going these decisions wrong are high. In this scenario subordinates should be motivated and encouraged to take decisions at time of emergency. Also the manager should be able to provide directions without any delay. His competence as a leader is very important. A leader comes forward to take the responsibility of the actions of his followers. The followers also recognize this fact and there are more people willing to work under a leader under emergencies. This is what actually needed in an emergency service. At the same time the leader should be conversant with the procedures adopted in an emergency. A manager is a technical person and he is likely to be thorough in procedures and policies. Union of managerial qualities and leadership skills will be a good formula for emergency medical services.

Emotional Intelligence

Leaders are emotionally more intelligent than ordinary managers. A manager wants to be successful should have high emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control one’s emotions and to understand the emotions of others. People having high emotional intelligence tend to be leaders. According to Terry, “a leader shows the way by his example. He is not a pusher; he pulls rather than pushes (Terry R G, 1988). A typical manager does not follow this style. He plans and direct people to get the work done. There is set of duties and responsibilities for each person in the organization. A manager ensures this is been done. He uses his control function to see things are going as per the schedule. A manger often uses his control powers. In contrast a leader expects his subordinates to perform the way it is desired. For example if a staff is coming late to his duty. The typical manager may think of taking corrective action, where as a leader may be thinking to find out the reasons behind the late coming of the staff and may be willing to support that person. Similar actions make the follower emotionally attached to the leader and they keep the individual interest only next to the common goals

In emergency medical service, emotional intelligence is a highly required quality of the person heading the operation. A leader who is empathetic and understands the emotions of others can do a lot in getting people involved in the service. A leader should avoid knee jerk reactions. It is already said emotional intelligence makes the difference in actions of a manager and a leader. A manager who is low in emotional intelligence may follow only the rule book and this kind of attitude may lead to poor quality service especially in emergency medical service. It is good to be knowledgeable but at the same time the managers should understand the need of being empathetic to the subordinates and the customers.

Leadership in Emergency Medical Service

The EMS (Emergency Medical Service) is becoming more and more complex day by day. The system is working with a lot of supervisors, ordinary staff and managers and a wide net work is being formed. Due to all these it has become very difficult for people associated with these services to survive without leadership skills. A leadership includes motivating and directing people to work. Emergency service requires quick action and this demands intrinsic motivation rather than anything. Only a true leader can make the intrinsic motivation in people following him. A leader motivates people to work for a common goal. In this service too, the person heads the department has to motivate the people to work for the common goal. A true leader can do it more effectively than a manager.

A leader should be a team player. Emergency service is always a team play. Mere management principles will not make any difference to the organization. A lot of uncertainty is present with the Emergency services. A manager should be capable of handling these services. People under him should be willing to work for extra hours if required. If extra service is required it should be given on volunteer basis. Here the scope of leadership is more visible. A leader can motivate his team members to provide their best.

Team members perform will perform to their full potential when the team leader motivates them to do so. The team leader should be empathetic to his team mates. He should make the people well aware of the team goal and the members should feel that the goal is common to all. Then only their full potential can be utilized. A leader should also provide a platform for the members to learn and grow. This will make the team members to become more professional. This will also increase the efficiency of the team to perform tasks.

Functions of management

Functions of management are Directing, Organizing, Planning, controlling and staffing. Professional managers are trained to perform these functions. Some people are on the view that Directing is the most important function of a manager. Many managers believe decision making is an important function of the manager. In the Emergency Medical Service Industry manager should be good at decision making. He will have to make decisions in seconds. A manger is trained to have these qualities. In management schools Case studies are used to impart the skills of decision making.

A leader has the quality of decision making and directing, a leader’s method of directing and decision making differ from that of a manager. Leaders decision are derived from that of his team members where as the managers decisions are learned decision and the decision the manger thinks to be good for the company.  In respect to other function like controlling and planning a manger uses modern management tools. An ordinary leader may not know these tools for planning and controlling. Hence in these function a manger may have an upper hand in delivering the duties. But if the manager has leadership skills then he can really outperform an ordinary manager. All leading management institutes have special curriculum to sharpen the leadership skills of the managers. It is also said it is important to become a leader then become a manager by learning management tools. Management is ‘managing men’ and a leader is expected to do this function well. Leadership involves in common interest and goal. By this common interest and goal a leader can motivate people to attain common goals. Managers seek scientific methods to perform their task. Leaders are not interested in going for such tools and management techniques. They are good motivators.

Born Leaders and Managers

Many people believe leaders are born to be leaders but not they believe there are born managers. People believe management qualities are trained. This may not be true regarding leadership qualities. For example, in accident sights some people emerge as leaders and guide others on what to do. These leaders are not trained to become managers or leaders. It is also observed that such people repeat the leadership role in similar occasion. This shows they are born leaders. Many view that leadership skills can be trained on individuals. But training on leadership skill is more difficult than training on management skills. It is also observed that function of direction is the most difficult part for any managers. Unless people have certain inborn skills it is difficult to direct other people.

In emergency medical service, to make the service more useful and effective, leaders are required than mere mangers. Emergency situation are unique and the robotic act will not help. A kind of intuition is the requirement of medical services. It is not that made up managers will be a failure. But born leaders can perform the task of emergency dealing perfectly

Leaders should have technical skills and personal skills to be more effective. If the leader does not have adequate knowledge people may not obey him in the long run. The followers should believe that the leader is more knowledgeable and technically competent than them. This gives the followers confidence to work with the leader and they will feel an assurance that the leader will look after them in case of any trouble. Leaders are more approachable than managers. They like to meet people and discuss their problems. Leaders suggest measures to resolve the worries of the people when people approach them. These characteristics are not applicable to managers. Managers are mainly concerned in increasing the profitability of the organization. In contrast leaders are more concerned about their followers.

Managers and Leaders

Successful managers are efficient leaders. Bill Gate is a successful leader as well as a good manager. There are other examples too. Most successful managers are not MBA holders rather they are good leaders. On a close view it can be understood that it is important to become a leader first than becoming a manager. Story of successful managers in all fields underlines this factor.

There are other differences in the styles of managers and leaders. A manager makes his decision and then sells his decision to his followers. Manger compares alternatives before making decisions. He asks his subordinates to question if they have any doubt. In case of a leader his decisions are more acceptable to the mass and that is the reason they follow the leader.


There is a difference between leadership and management. Managers are more concerned about planning, controlling, staffing and organizing. Leaders are more concerned about directing and organizing people. They act more as a representative of the followers. People follow leaders voluntarily than by virtue of their position. Leaders should have high emotional intelligence. In Emergency Medical Service leadership qualities are more sought after than mere management skills. Managers with good leadership skills can produce best result. Successful business people are good leaders as well as good manager. To be successful in the long run a manager should have leadership skills.


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Doyle, S. (2006, October 27). The Difference Between Leadership and Management. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from

Terry R G (1988), Principles of Management, Richard D Irwin Homewood III.

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Goleman D (1980) Managing; The Dark Side of Charisma Retrieved April 14, 2009

Beck, M. (2004, November 10). Exceptional Leadership Inspires the Best Effort in Others. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from

Abdul-Karim, Z. (2009, April 9). Leadership in Uncertain Times – Integrity. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from—Integrity&id=2203907

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There is a huge difference between a boss and a leader. I’d much rather be working for a leader any day.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with both, and it’s amazing what working with someone that you respect and more importantly, respects you, does to boost employee engagement.

Let’s go through each of these one by one and discuss how bosses can become leaders:

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Leaders Are Compassionate

Compassion is one of the most important qualities to have in life, let alone work.

When I spoke to Emiliana Simon-Thomas, the science director at UC Berkeley, I had asked for her opinion about a blog post I wrote called The Most Important Leadership Skill To Have where I argued that empathy was the most important leadership skill to have.

She mentioned that while empathy is important, compassion is the next step, and is actually the most important leadership trait. Empathy is great, but compassion is when you actually act on those feelings. If someone is suffering from a cold, it’s one thing to feel their pain, and it’s another to cook them some chicken soup.

On the other hand, most disengaged bosses that I’ve had the “pleasure” of working with couldn’t care less about how their employees felt outside of work. Or even worse, they would pretend to care, which is obvious to spot.

Leaders Are Inclusive

The words we choose to use can have such a dramatic effect on our perception of people.

Something I’ve been trying to do recently is use the words “we” more often. The reason for this exercise is to enforce more a team-atmosphere. Ideally, we’re all on the same page, and no one gets credit for anything. We’re all aligned on a collective mission, and the language I use day-to-day needs to reflect that.

Instead of saying “I helped a client set his system up,” I try to say “we helped our client get his system up.” Even if it was only me who did any work, I want every part of my job to feel like it’s a team effort.

Bosses are so focused on the politics of a company and looking good in front of their higher-ups that they use the word “I” for everything.

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Leaders Don’t Micromanage

Smart leaders know that it’s the people under them that make a company successful, not them.

As one person, it’s impossible to progress that fast if you have to micromanage every little thing and not let your team grow and develop. Micromanaging is the worst thing you can do as a boss, for a few reasons:

  • It slows your team down
  • It doesn’t let employees grow and learn new skills
  • It destroys motivation
  • It removes you from other big picture work you could be doing

What a smart leaders does, is delegate, and is always there for feedback and to answer any questions. Give employees a high level direction of what you’d ideally like to see, and let them run with it.

For example, if your company has to work on a white paper, you can tell an employee the general subject, a few points you want to make sure are covered, and maybe an example or two of some good white papers you’ve seen in the past. Remind employees that you’re there for them if they need anything and that you’ll see where they’re at tomorrow afternoon. From there, let them handle it.

Leaders Earn Respect

Notice that I used the word “earn”. Leaders know that for employees to respect them, they need to earn it over time. But smart leaders work hard early on to earn the respect of their employees.

Here’s the secret: give respect to earn it.

If you show your employees the respect they deserve, paying them a fair salary, not counting the time they’re at their desk, etc. you’ll slowly earn the respect back from employees. Every good relationship is built on a foundation of trust and respect.

On the other hand, bosses have an old school mentality that employees respond well to fear. Spoiler alert: they don’t. Yelling and threatening employees will only get them out of the door faster.

Leaders Don’t Use People, They Develop Them

This one seems subtle, but what this one is all about is how people perceive those that work under them. The last point about respect is directly related to this one. If you don’t respect your employees, you’ll use them, and look at them as machines that work for you.

True leaders will look at their employees as humans, with potential to grow and get better. Understanding this, leaders will work to develop people into future leaders, which in turn will make them look better.

Bosses don’t have time to be bothered with concerns from their employees, whereas leaders will make time to meet with their employees frequently and give them constructive feedback to help them get better. Leaders will take the time to get to know their employees and help them as much as they possibly can.

Leaders Say Let’s Go

Leaders understand that they are as much a part of the team as the employee that works under them. If you have the attitude that employees work for you, and you don’t have anything to do, they’ll take care of everything, then you can call yourself a boss.

If on the other hand, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work alongside your employees, then you can consider yourself a leader.

It’s all about leading by example. If you ask employees to work extra hard to meet a client deadline and you’re out on the golf course, you shouldn’t expect your employees to be happy.

Leaders Take Blame And Give Credit

This is mostly a question of confidence and ego. Leaders don’t care to get credit, even if they did most of the work. They’re happy to give it up to the employees to make them feel proud and more engaged.

The best leaders are also happy to take the blame, even if it wasn’t their fault. Again, in order to not disengage employees, they’ll be willing to take the blame if something goes wrong. This is a very noble act when you think about it.

Bosses need that credit to feed their ego. Not only are bosses not willing to take blame, but they’re looking to see where they can assign blame, instead of moving on and trying to fix the issue and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

Leaders Think Long Term

A lot of this has to do with your core values and mission of the company. I’ve worked for many companies where there was no clearly defined mission, and we were all just working to make money.

When you have a values-based company, you can be smart with how you make decisions. If it doesn’t satisfy your long term vision, then it doesn’t get done. Everything is thought out long term, and everyone in the company is on the same page.

On the other hand, most bosses are too focused on the next sale or next quarter’s results so they make short term decisions, that end up costing a lot (time and energy) down the road.

Leaders Are Your Colleagues

What leaders should want to do is create a culture where everyone is the same. Flat hierarchies are becoming more popular because it removes the notion that someone is above you and better than you. Everyone has something to offer, and everyone deserves to be treated the same.

My favorite example of this is Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. He could have the fanciest corner office, but he famously chooses to sit at the same size desk as his call center employees, and he sits right out there in the call center with everyone else.

Bosses, again likely to feed their ego, need to feel important and act like they are above you. Power corrupts, we’ve seen that many times throughout history, but smart leaders know that treating everyone as equals is a smart move.

Leaders Are Focused On People

Your people are your best asset.

I wish more bosses would believe that, and treat their employees how they deserve to be treated. Bosses are often way too focused on processes, and don’t let their employees take risks and try new things.

Your employees have smart ideas, and they’re eager to share them if you give them a chance. Using an employee engagement platform, leaders can get insight into how their employees feel about them on a regular basis.

Does Management Know The Difference Between A Boss And A Leader?

Get feedback from employees using an employee engagement survey software to find out the pulse of your office. You can get constant feedback about how employees feel about the leaders in their organization by checking out Officevibe, for weekly reports on your company.

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