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What Sets A Boss Apart From an Employee

Updated: Mar 19

The following is an article “What Sets A Boss Apart From an Employee” by Marc Primo.


The prospect of being your own boss can be appealing but only a few dare to pursue their dreams. Nothing wrong with that, really, except when you know that you have what it takes to run your own business rather than just be a pencil pusher for management.



While not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship, distinguishing the differences between being an employee and a boss is the first step in finding out where you fit. Factors such as security, stress, risk, and profit are normally considered if you’re planning the transition but the main difference all boils down to mindset.


Are you more comfortable calling the shots or are you more effective in taking instructions? Let’s find out.


Responsibility. Imagine owning a $2,000 suit. With its huge price tag, you’ll definitely make sure that you keep it in tip-top form. You’ll probably spend money on dry-cleaning, carefully iron it out, and cover it up with a premium suit bag to keep dust and dirt away. Now imagine renting the same pricey suit. Will you still go out of your way to do the same or simply wear and return it? Like the owner of a pricey suit, being a business owner means that you have to look after your business 24/7 and seven days a week to ensure that everything is in order. A far cry from being an employee whose main responsibility is to make sure particular processes are carried out at a given time (eight hours a day for some and not a second more). If you see yourself being able to oversee the entire business flow in real-time and carry the full weight of operational responsibilities, then you already have a fair idea of what it’s like to be the head honcho.


Function. Aside from the time difference given by both employees and owners to a company, another significant contrast between the two are their respective functions in fulfilling tasks. Business owners can give directions and make executive decisions that can either spell success or failure. Employees, on the other hand, contribute collectively by doing specific functions like putting the puzzle pieces in place to complete a bigger picture. As a business owner, leadership is vital in how things should be accomplished so try to discover your leadership style if you want to be an effective boss someday. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to steer your employees into perfecting their jobs through proper instruction and motivation. Think of it as how a maestro conducts a symphony and how he cues each musician to perform and create that perfect arrangement. A true boss does the same for his employees and the company, while an employee willingly strikes the right chords.


Problem-solving. We all know that a company relies heavily on the problem-solving prowess of its leaders but the same is equally important on the rank and file level. Employees are the ones tasked to get the ball rolling in every business process. In other words they rev up the engine so that the business can go uphill. Frontline employees face clients and customers that could either push the company forward or backward so their communication skills are always vital especially in cases of complaints and crises.


On the other hand, business owners look at the bigger picture when there’s a problem. Being the omniscient leader who knows every process of the business by heart, he is in the right position to carry out instructions that will start a chain of processes and solve the entire mess in the most effective manner. Simply put, if the employee is the key that revs up the engine, the business owner is the mechanic who makes sure that all parts are functioning properly.

The difference between being a business owner and an employee lies beyond just position or pay grade. Your ability to handle business processes with the proper mindset can determine whether you can fill the shoes of a leader or can be more helpful as a foot soldier.



Whatever role you’re planning to take for the long term, know that both are equally important within an organization. However, if you think you can be your own boss someday and set up a business, then consider figuring out what type of leader you are first then review your approach on how you’d handle the most critical aspects of the business at the top level.