Guest Post by Bill Treasurer
Leadership: It’s amazing how complicated leadership “experts” have made the topic. I know because I am one of them. I am a senior ranking officer in what can only be called the Legion of Leadership Complexifiers (the LLC).
We members of the LLC make our livelihood plumbing, parsing, and peddling leadership concepts. We use fancy words and nitpick the life out of the subject.
Sure, most of us are well-intentioned, but by complicating leadership, we have created an unrealistic and largely unattainable standard for people to live up to.
We set impossible expectations when we tell leaders they need to be:
Bold and calculated
Passionate and reasonable
Rational and emotional
Confident and humble
Driven and patient
Strategic and tactical
Competitive and cooperative
Principled and flexible
Faced with such a laundry list of expectations, how on earth could anyone fulfill all these roles? Why would they want to be a leader?
Keep it simple! The truth is, leadership doesn’t have to be complex.
It’s time to lighten the leadership load and bring leadership back to what’s most essential. Here are six tips that simplify leadership and re-focus on what’s essential.
1. Focus on a Positive Future: Always keep the best days of the people you’re leading in front of them. Focus on looming achievements on the horizon, not the glory days of the past.
2 Stop Stoking Fear: Here’s the most overused phrase in the history of business: What keeps me awake at night… Phrases like that only serve to make people anxious. Followers would rather know what gets you up in the morning.
3. Motivate with Opportunity: People will move mountains, if in exchange for doing so, they grow and develop. Benjamin Disraeli was right, “Opportunity is more powerful even than conquerors and prophets.”
4. Know Them Until You Care: Get to know the career desires, goals, and aspirations of each of your people. When you know them, you’ll care about them. And when you care about them, their trust and loyalty increases.
5. Stretch into Discomfort: People grow and develop in a zone of discomfort, not comfort. Task people with stretch assignments that cause them to grow and make them a tad uncomfortable.
6. Be Grateful: Your job is to help your people be eminently successful. When they are, you will be deemed an effective leader…because of their work. Be grateful, and say, “Thank you!”
Leadership may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. When you cut through the clutter, leadership is about advancing the growth and development of those you lead.
Think of a leader you admire – someone who actually led you. What do you admire about him or her?
- Did she provide you with an opportunity where you could grow your skills?
- Did he give you candid feedback that caused you to see yourself in a more honest way?
- Did she value your perspective, input, and ideas?
- Did he create opportunities for you to stretch, grow, and excel?
Leaders open doors. They create opportunities for those they lead. It’s as simple as that! And when you stay focused on this, everything else falls into place.
Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting. His latest book Leaders Open Doors focuses on how leaders create growth through opportunity. Bill is also the author of the bestseller Courage Goes to Work and Courageous Leadership: A Program for Using Courage to Transform the Workplace, an off-the-shelf training toolkit that organizations use to build workplace courage. Bill has led courage-building workshops for a huge range of companies such as NASA, Accenture, CNN, PNC Bank, SPANX, Hugo Boss, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. You can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @btreasurer.