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Boss vs. Leader: What’s the difference?

Bosses dictate. Leaders motivate.

Posted by: Team Tony

Being a leader has nothing to do with your title or position. Many managers are not leaders, and many leaders do so without a title of authority. Leadership is a practice – and when you master the skills to effectively lead, you can effect positive change and influence those around you regardless of whether you are the “boss.” To be an effective leader, you must first understand the emotional triad and how it influences a person’s emotional state and their behavior.

The emotional triad (see diagram) refers to the three forces that control a person’s emotions – focus, language, and physiology. True leaders can influence and change each of these forces in themselves and others to elicit desired behavior – managers do not.






Three critical differences between a boss and a leader:


As Tony says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Leaders are able to disrupt patterns in others to shift focus, annihilate limiting beliefs and inspire internalized changes. When a strong leader can successfully interrupt another’s habits of thought, belief or action, that person become more aware of those patterns and are able to choose for themselves to pause, refocus and shift to more empowering beliefs and behaviors.



Leaders know that their message only matters when their subject truly hears, understands and absorbs it. And leaders accomplish this by establishing rapport through to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways. This connection dismantles resistance – it actually changes the subject’s physiology to be more open and energetic – and builds the trust necessary to drive lasting change.



How you use language determines the emotions you feel and the emotions you elicit from those around you. Leaders use language as a tool to turn someone’s negative, self-defeating speak into positive, empowering language. By changing your own language, you can change your focus – or that of someone you want to influence – positively affecting their emotional triad and empowering them for more success.


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