There are many ways to lead, but only one is sustainable. True leadership inspires and liberates, while every other variant requires and subdues. Any time someone pulls the “boss” card, he has failed in that moment to inspire and liberate.
This is true in any setting. It matters not if the leader holds the title of boss, manager, parent, team captain, owner, section leader, professor, etc. If you have to make someone comply (e.g. “Look I am the boss, now do it!”) rather than draw forth their agreement, you’ve taken a leadership shortcut that will compromise your standing in the eyes of those you are leading.
One of the most outstanding examples of this that I am aware of is contained in the record of Jesus’ short but impactful ministry. According to the record, the “devil” that lurks in everyone’s consciousness until it is cast out tried to get Him to do it in the wilderness, but so to did well-meaning, earnest political, religious and business leaders He interacted with in the course of His daily affairs. They were dumfounded by His inspiring and liberating authority and and they couldn’t understand how He had it without a title, degree or pedigree that is, without pulling the ultimate “boss” card, the “Son of God” card.
Even Pontius Pilate, the governor who was faced with the unpleasant task of presiding over Jesus’ trial, saw clearly that Jesus would not stoop to pulling that card. Pilate’s question: “Art thou the King of the Jews?” was met with either silence or “Thou sayest it…”, depending upon which version of the story you read.
Jesus was who He was and His authority was natural, inherent, and absolute. He did not need to resort to what so many do to get His point across. That said, He didn’t apologize for His authority or back down when others perceived it. In fact, He used their question as evidence that those challenging Him already recognized something of His authority, despite their willful (and no doubt fearful) reluctance to yield to it.
At risk of being charged with blasphemy myself, I say that each and every leader is under the same obligation. Each and every person on earth is a Son or Daughter of God, a beautiful and unique manifestation of Nature. As such, each one has a natural, inherent focus of authority that must be revealed through his words and deeds. The failure to do so (N.B. every time a so-called leader resorts to pulling a man-made title out of his vest pocket is a failure!) is an outright denial of the source of his true authority which deepens the already profound distrust of leadership in the collective consciousness of man.
A true leader need not bear witness unto himself. A true leader’s authority is revealed through his actions and by way of his ability to inspire and uplift, no matter how stubborn those whom he leads may be in any given moment. There is, dear readers, only one right way to lead.