And what a powerful difference it is. But the “elephant in the room” so to speak regarding this difference is not necessarily a difference in leadership, ergo a difference between how a boss and a leader behaves.
The difference is in perception. How you are perceived by your crowd, team, subordinates, colleagues and peers can make or break your career.
The most competent man can have a sorely hard time getting ahead simply by being perceived as incompetent or weak and an incompetent man can “live in the fast lane” simply by the power of being perceived as amazingly good and deserving of his authority. To further add emphasis on this, you need only look at politics and especially presidents. Some arguably extremely incompetent people thrive on the perception of the masses that they are actually great and noble leaders.
And one driving factor behind this perception is the language used.
Choosing to speak better, to select how you word your thoughts and better still, to carefully select how you word out your requests and requirements of others can make or break your career.
Put emphasis on pluralization. Try to always make tasks seem and feel like a team effort, and always remind people that you too are part of the same team.
People tend to row better and in unison when they know they are in the same boat together. As such, always accept responsibility for the team shortcomings, not just the successes. Shield your team from the bad and share with them the laurels of success. You’ll go far.
Phrases such as “Can we do this?” or “How do you feel about trying this task” or “I need your help with a task, can we do it together?” make the decision making process feel more inclusive even though, ultimately, it is you who lays out work and not the way around.
The way you do things is just as important as the things you do.