Keep it Simple…

By Travis Kemp

Human’s love to overly complicate the simple and oversimply the complex…

So with the growing volume of research (and opinion) on Leadership being published on a daily basis, it’s becoming a little daunting…

We’re confronted with an ever increasingly sophisticated list of Leadership ‘must haves’ that need to be delivered in an forever increasingly difficult environment topped off with a large dollop of continuous “change” and “ambiguity” thrown in for good measure…

Leaders are rapidly being expected to be everything, for everybody, all the time… perfectly…

Well… that’s crazy… (this is not an empirical psychological diagnosis, just a liberal usage of the common vernacular…)

So playing with the Paradox of the Complex… I wanted to jump on the “5 vital things all leaders must do” band wagon (no, the irony is not lost here…) and keep it all really simple…

1. Be nice – If you don’t have anything positive, helpful, considered and considerate to say, shut up…

2. Be empathetic – As a leader, the world doesn’t revolve around you… Your job is to help it revolve… Think about what’s important to other people and what they’re struggling with or celebrating…

3. Stop talking and Listen – Many leaders spend way too much time talking… nobody is that interesting… The biggest gift you can give your people is to listen to them… deeply… and make sure you’re really hearing what they’re saying…

4. Sack your ego – You are only in your position as a leader because others around you allow you to be in it… it’s a privilege, not a trophy… Treat it like that… Everyday… In every conversation… and let go of any illusion that you may have that you’re any more important than anyone else on the planet…

5. Stop triangulating conversations – If you want to talk about someone, make sure they’re there – Translation: If what you’re saying to someone about someone else you haven’t said to her directly already, or worse, you would never say to her directly… don’t say it… ever…

6. Tell the truth – The whole truth, and nothing but the truth… If you need to say “I’m not trying to mislead anyone here…” You’re probably not telling the truth… Don’t lie (or any of its sanitized versions like manipulate, mislead or withhold) in any way, shape or form… ever…

7. Make a valued contribution – Whatever you do, do something that helps not hinders, builds not destroys, creates not confines, expands not constrains, nurtures not destroys, facilitates not resists… Do something that is meaningful… Don’t waste your time here… It’s not infinite (yet…)

Feel free to add to the list…

Start with these and then ask those who have bestowed leadership upon you whether or not it makes their lives any easier and fulfilled…

Or perhaps even more importantly, whether or not they want to spend more, or less time, in your space…