The quality of leadership significantly influences the functionality of a workforce. When managers act as leaders, they drive the organization toward more achievements. On the other hand, acting like just a boss may lead to low employee retention rates and a frustrated workforce.

There are several differences between a leader and a boss, and all of them are resolvable discrepancies that can be handled with a mere change in leadership styles. In managerial and executive positions, people can mentor and inspire their subordinates without coming across as rude bosses.

The struggle to find the perfect balance between leadership styles is understandable, which might also be the reason why several managers end up following the norm of simply being bosses instead of leaders. However, today’s scenarios demand organizations to have influential leaders in order to ensure seamless functioning. There are several ways productive leadership can be achieved. In this article, we will talk about how to be a leader and not just a boss. Let’s begin.

  1. Change Communication Styles. 

Communication styles are a crucial part of determining the quality of leadership. While bosses tend to indulge only in one-way communication, leaders value inputs from other team members and encourage two-way communication. Assuring your employees of how their inputs are important is wise, primarily as it drives them to be more actively involved in projects and present creative ideas without the fear of being scolded or humiliated.

Additionally, one can also review their tone and style of speech in both verbal and electronic communications. Asking employees for regular feedback also helps.

  1. Delegate Authority.

Delegating authority instead of tasks is a crucial aspect of being a leader. It is not a hidden fact that bosses tend to micromanage. They delegate tasks to employees that must be finished within a specific and mostly unrealistically short time span. During that time, they tend to micromanage and be stringent with protocols to achieve the outcome that may benefit in the short term but doesn’t necessarily produce excellent results in the long term.

Leadership entails consideration of long-term goals. Having a long-term vision and communicating the same to the rest of the team with realistic deadlines motivates them to work toward achieving goals that micromanaging can never bring about. Instead of telling employees to do things right, leaders tend to delegate authority by teaching them what is right. They enable employees to feel empowered in their roles and work toward producing great results without worrying about their bosses micromanaging them. This helps in the team’s growth, and although it may initially demand the leader’s time, it improves the team’s overall efficiency to generate extraordinary results in the long term.

  1. Consider Mistakes as Learning Opportunities. 

The occurrence of mistakes in professional settings is inevitable. How an executive or a manager reacts to these mistakes speaks volumes about an organization’s leadership style. When you’re just a boss, you will tend to blame employees for their failure, scold them, and maybe even punish them with severe consequences. A leader, however, will never react this way.

Leaders see mistakes as learning opportunities. So, their actions speak for themselves when they help employees rectify their mistakes instead of blaming or humiliating them. Leaders claim ownership of their employees’ shortcomings and respond with compassion as long as the latter is making honest efforts. As a result, employees also feel comfortable enough to reach out whenever they feel stuck or realize they’ve done something wrong. This strategy is especially helpful in the long run, as employees won’t end up repeating their mistakes and grow as professionals in the process.

  1. Encourage Teamwork.

Building and encouraging teamwork is a crucial component of every leadership strategy, which is why you should invest time in relevant activities to ensure you’re a leader instead of a boss. Leaders influence their subordinates through effective communication and a compassionate aura, unlike a boss who encourages protecting one’s own interests.

Leaders build teamwork by encouraging collaborations, organizing frequent group activities, investing time in proactive & respectful conflict resolution, setting team-based goals, and setting up mentorship or buddy programs for the freshers. Not limited to these, leaders undertake teambuilding activities to ensure their teams get along and focus on team effort rather than individual interests. It takes a great leader to bring their team together, even when all individuals have distinct personalities. Such efforts lead to exceptional results for success and immaculate resolutions in case of any failures.

  1. Develop Essential Leadership Traits.

Five leadership traits you must develop are:

  • Being inspirational and motivating others by demonstrating inclusion, sensitivity, and integrity.
  • Being growth-oriented and encouraging employees to learn by setting up different training programmes, sharing your own knowledge, and offering networking opportunities.
  • Being a good listener and advocating two-way communication.
  • Being open to risks and diving into opportunities while figuring things along the way instead of always waiting around for the ‘perfect timing.’
  • Being open to learning and growing yourself so that you lead by example.

Although essential leadership traits are not limited to the characteristics mentioned above, it is necessary to develop these traits in order to become an effective leader.


Leadership is a powerful tool for organizations today. No matter the size of the organization or the nature of the industry, effective leadership is a tool that can change the landscape. Knowing how to be a good leader and not just a boss is essential. Holding people accountable for their actions is vital, but doing so with effective communication, delegating authority, encouraging teamwork, and considering mistakes as learning opportunities is the trick to shaping a well-established, employee-centric, and harmonious work culture.