Friday, May 4, 2018

Lean Quote: A Leader Can be a Boss But Not Every Boss Is a Leader

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"When you’re a manager, you work for your company. When you’re a leader, your company works for you." — Stan Slap

While a leader can be a boss, not every boss is a leader. The distinction between being a boss and being a leader may seem small, but it means the world to the people who work for you.

Here are some differences that clearly defines what it means to be a leader versus a boss:

A leader coaches employees, depends on goodwill, generates enthusiasm, says “we”, fixes the breakdown, shows how it is done, develops people, gives credit, asks questions, and says “let’s go”.

A boss drives employees, depends on authority, inspires fear (the beatings will continue until morale improves…), says “I”, places blame for any breakdown, knows how it is done, uses people, takes credit, commands and says “go”.

The definition of leadership is “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” That is why it is my belief that if you are a good leader for your organization, then you really don’t need to worry about being The Boss. You will gain more influence and have more positive impact on your organization if your team feels valued and respected and has an understanding of where you expect them to be headed.


During your life, you will face two kinds of managers: leaders and bosses. It does not matter how high the position of these individuals; bossy people are more likely to fail while those who lead will succeed.

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