I think that one’s choice of words can really say a lot about one’s perspective on many matters. One can certainly read too much into words – trying to get tone and meaning out of an e-mail is an invitation to disaster and misinterpretation (today, I decided against sending an e-mail and opted for a phone call because I couldn’t find a way to write a response without sound cold…).
But choice of words can mean a lot. A while ago, I was having a conversation about our respective departments and, therefore, staff. It’s perhaps too subtle, but what I noticed was:
“they work for me. they are supposed to do what I ask or tell them to do.”
“we work together to make our decisions happen. if our actions deviate too far from the plan, I ‘correct’ things, but then we try and keep moving along.”
That’s a bit of an exaggeration on both examples. But in both situations the staff do work for us, and they are responsible for making our plans happen. And we are in charge of making those plans. But the two descriptions couldn’t be more different in perspective. And it’s probably safe to presume that there is an underlying, corresponding difference in approach to management.
Just some random thoughts.