You have heard of bosses and you have heard of leaders. If you have truly experienced the difference between the two, you know that these terms are not interchangeable.

All leaders are bosses but not all bosses are leaders. The term “boss” refers to a desired position within a company. This individual has been promoted numerous times and now finds themselves in a position of power. They are, to an extent, the decision-makers of the company and have input into how the company is run and how the company’s budget is spent.

While these are all heavy responsibilities to bear, none of the attributes listed above makes them a true leader. If they accept their position and remain stagnant as they are, they will only ever be a boss. However, if they continue to grow in their position and do everything in their power to better both their company and their employees, they become leaders.

So, what are the distinctions between a boss and a leader? Consult these traits to better understand the difference:

Leaders guide their employees.

A leader is greatly involved in the work of their employees, but not in a suffocating way. They work closely with the people in their office to offer advice, guidance, and assistance when necessary. When a team recognizes that their leader is standing beside them rather than above them, they are more motivated to succeed, rather than exhaustively trying to follow a leader who offers little to no guidance.

Leaders listen before they speak.

Leaders never believe they have all the answers. They recognize that their strengths only go so far and that both them and their company can benefit from the insight of others. That is why a leader will listen to employees, giving them a platform to share their opinions and offer up suggestions, rather than talking over them.

Leaders don’t need to use fear tactics.

Intimidation should never be used as a tool for growth. Employees who fear their superiors often do not trust them, which means they also don’t respect them. Respected leaders build successful companies because their team is passionate and motivated to excel.

Leaders treat everyone equally.

When a member of the team is chosen as the “favorite,” it casts a dark shadow across the entire office. A leader will put aside their personal preferences to ensure that all members of the team are not only treated equally, but feel that their voice carries the same weight as the other voices on the team.