Bad Boss vs. Good Leader Image

Boss vs. Leader and Mission of a Team

This simple graphic depicts the difference between  a Bad Boss and a Good Leader. I love it, because it highlights  some key attributes, including:

1. Role of the Team: The Bad Boss expects the team to serve them. The Good Leader serves the team.

2. Command vs. Participate: Bad Bosses command others to do what they are no longer willing to do themselves. Good Leaders never ask from the team, what they are unwilling to do themselves.

3. Role of the Mission: Bad Bosses sit on top of the mission. They use the mission to promote themselves. In contrast, Good Leaders focus on the mission for the mission’s sake.

4. Expectations of Self: Bad Bosses expect to reap rewards from the hard work that got them to their position. The Good Leader understands the workload only increases as they progress.

It’s easy to spot a Bad Boss or a Good Leader, especially when compared against each other. This simple graphic helps clarify that image.

Question: What other key differences are there between a Bad Boss and a Good Leader? Leave a comment here.

Credit: A special thanks to my brother, Matt, from, for sharing this image. I’ve not been able to identify the original image and made minor edits (adding the phrase “mission”). If find the original artist, please let me know so I may share credit.

  • IslandKaren

    You asked: What other key differences are there between a Bad Boss and a Good Leader? Just one really … EGO!!

  • Jacqueline Urquizo

    teamwork vs solitary star

  • Mauricio

    Boss: 100% useless.
    Leader: Could you please stop talking and use both your hands to pull the damn thing ?!

  • Carsten König

    love this one … btw: there is another good point in the picture: a boss makes the mission “harder” (he increases the weight the other guys need to pull and of course the leader himself will help)

    • Ben Lichtenwalner

      Excellent point Carsten!

  • Doug Courtemanche

    What happens when you put a Committee on top of the Mission, or worse yet a whole bureaucracy? The Mission slows down, stalls or stops. If you are trying to go up a hill it will likely reverse!

  • Marcos

    The original image is from this page

  • Old Fire Chief

    The team gets the credit – not the boss – who always puts the team at the forefront, and stays in the background and out of the limelight.

    • Ben Lichtenwalner

      Yes! Thanks for sharing.

  • Barabba

    ..mi sento la fune..

  • Barabba

    ..spesso le funi.

  • Pingback: The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader | Leadership()

  • Uncommon Effort

    Great post! I really like point #3, that’s great. I’ve always said that a boss takes credit, a leader takes blame.

    I just wrote an article on leadership and your image fit perfectly. I’ve provided credit of the image, with multiple links back to this post. If you’d like me to change something, please let me know! Check it out;

  • Runnersaint

    Bad Boss: disciplines in front of everyone to embarrass the team member. Good leader disciplines in private so the team member doesn’t feel “called out”.

    Bad Boss: takes credit for the ideas of the team member(s). Good Leader: gives credit for the idea of the team member(s)

    Bad Boss: treats their employees as if they were less than people. Good Leader: treats their employees as people. (I guess this goes along with the “doing what one is unwilling to do themselves”)