People rarely use the terms ‘boss’ and ‘leader’ interchangeably, and there’s a reason for that. The term ‘boss’ has a negative connotation that the term ‘leader’ doesn’t have. Many bosses are under the impression that they are leaders. However their employees will know the difference.
Leaders earn respect: they don’t demand respect like bosses. Leaders are authority figures who are able to work with the other members of their teams effectively in order to achieve goals. Bosses simply issue orders to the people who are working beneath them, who they treat as being beneath them in every way. People fear their bosses. People respect and admire their leaders.
Ultimately, the difference between the two lies in the difference between authoritarian and authoritative leadership. Authoritarians do what they want to do, view people as tools, and accomplish things from there if they can. Authoritative leaders see themselves as part of the team and try to build up other members of the team along with them in order to accomplish goals. Leaders are the heads of great groups of people. Bosses never are.