Why A Boss Is Not ❌ A Leader 🤔

Dre Baldwin
3 min readNov 13, 2023

Bosses and leaders.

Most people think they’re the same thing.

They’re not the same thing.

[Most people are wrong about pretty much everything.]

If you work in corporate, or any bureaucratic entity (academia, government, etc). You know the formula for “moving up.”

1. Stick around

2. Be relatively competent at your job

3. Don’t piss off the wrong person

It’s demonstrated to you every day, if not explicitly told to you.

Do this for long enough, and you can stumble into a “boss” position.

Look at our current U.S. President (writing this in 2023).

Tell me I’m wrong.

I know someone, who I won’t identify by name (at least not this time), who currently holds a “boss” position at work. It’s a corporate job.

When I met this person a few years ago, they were at or near the bottom of the (albeit short) totem pole at work. They stuck around, did their job, and didn’t piss off the wrong people.

Now they’re at the top of the totem pole.

And they’re not very good at their job.

This person has no leadership skills. Zero.

They are good at following procedure and doing everything “by the book,” so to speak. They do their job by essentially reading out of the manual.

Corporate manuals have two objectives.

1. Don’t get us sued

2. Keep the money coming in

You don’t need leadership skills to follow corporate rules.

This individual I’m talking about has no soft skills.

No intuition.

No ability to galvanize, inspire or persuade.

No “touch.”

If they were an entrepreneur — where your skills will either exalt or expose you — their business wouldn’t last one year.

As a boss in a bureaucracy, they can survive for the next 20 years.

Leaders must know how to “read the room”.

Which means, not every situation can be handled the same way.

You don’t deal with every person the same way.

Leaders go to the source of a situation and find out what’s really happening, rather than getting all their information second- and third-hand from others.

This is the natural way that a leader thinks and feels.

The good thing is, leadership skills can be learned.

A boss is just a job title.

Many bosses are not leaders. They’re glorified managers who got promoted.

Many leaders are not bosses. They aren’t even at the top, but they’re the one that everyone follows.

People listen to bosses because they have to, and they comply.

We listen to leaders because we want to, and we follow.

Big difference.

In bureaucratic environments, many bosses are mere “empty suits” with business cards.

Leadership is a transferable skill set that goes with you even if you leave the job or close the business.

When you’re a boss, you’re nobody as soon as you leave the office at 5 PM.

When you’re a leader, you’re “somebody” everywhere you go.

Are you ready to learn to lead?


Dre Baldwin Work On Your Game Inc.



Dre Baldwin

The Discipline to Produce Your Best On Your Toughest Days. It ain’t for everybody. #TheThirdDay Creator of #WorkOnYourGame. DreAllDay.com