Thanks for sharing this, Steph. In leadership development we often have conversations about vernacular, and sometimes more energy than is necessary is spent on figuring out what we call things. Here you conflate “boss” and “leader” but there’s a multiplicity in each definition. One can be a boss without any semblance of leadership qualities; at the same time, a leader might not be charged with managing any people. Syntax is important, but more to the larger point of your argument, *behaviors* lead the way.

If you are not familiar with Kim Scott’s “Radical Candor,” I would encourage you to put it on the shortlist. It was one of the more transformative reads I’ve come across these last few years. Early in the book she leaves this nugget which reminded me of your article — “…most people don’t like the words for their role: ‘boss’ evokes injustice, ‘manager’ sounds bureaucratic, ‘leader’ sounds self-aggrandizing.” Keep writing on this, and exploring the field!

Small southpaw writing about kindness, creativity, and organizational life.

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