One of the most persistent debates in business, sports and life in general, is the topic of what a good leader is. It’s a fascinating when you look at the opinions of leaders globally.
Steve Jobs talks about ‘innovation’ being at the core of leadership, plenty of others talk about forging paths, leading from behind, and there is generally a list of 5-10 qualities that a leader must possess such as courage, decisiveness, ambition, optimistic and being observant.
The challenge with the popular opinions is that on many occasions they’re complicated!
It is no wonder therefore that business coaches around the world are making the insurmountable amount of money that they earn form this sector even though half of the crap they go on about takes a Bachelors degree to remotely comprehend on an executable level.
Hilariously and somewhat ironically, for me it is these self-proclaimed industry leaders that counter-intuitively highlight what, in my humble opinion, makes for a good leader.
Which is, in a single word, simplicity.
Simplicity in understanding oneself, planning, communication and awareness plus execution.
To make this simple, simplicity in understanding oneself is critically important in order to lead others as we need to first harness a true understanding of ourselves.
To be able to hear that inner leader, there needs to be a simplicity within that helps to provide total clarity around our values or DNA and thus, in turn our decision making.
It is the freedom to listen to instinct and have conviction in our decisions plus the calmness in our minds to interpret information in a productive way before leaping to conclusions.
The only way to be able to do that is to be unequivocal in the understanding of our minds.
Without leveraging a degree of simplicity, there’s generally very little room in there to process any other information without some form of bias which isn’t ideal for leaders.
Simplicity in planning
A leader in planning is someone who can see a grand perspective of the entire situation, understand what’s available in skills and resources, and as they have a true understanding of themselves, they can put the pieces of their complex planning puzzle together.
They see the simplest route to get from A to B, considering any foreseeable issues that may pop up and making sure that their own ego doesn’t get in the way of progression.
Simplicity in communication and awareness
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” said Albert Einstein
Leaders have an acute awareness to be able to tune in to people’s emotions and modify their communication to get onto the same wavelength as their team when broadcasting.
Their ability goes beyond the understanding of said plan. Many thought-leaders end up never becoming true leaders or humans, because they are so in their own heads.
They don’t take the necessary time or energy that is required to tune in to the audience in order to broadcast their theories into simple terms that everyone can understand.
Simplicity in execution
I was taught very early on that you only run as quickly as the slowest person in your section.
Simplicity in execution simply means that you have to ensure that your execution is simple enough in order to facilitate its leveraging by the least gifted person in your team.
The best leaders also impart a greater perspective on the group to allow for a holistic understanding as to why the execution of a task is running in a certain direction.
That in turn creates 360-degree accountability, in which the entire team is constantly on the same page with regards to what the end goal is and the processes required to get there.
There is no confusion or ambiguity as to where everyone stands.
I could come up with so many different words to describe great leadership, most of which have been bastardised by the corporate landscape to sell more product or discipline staff.
However, I would be adding my voice onto the noise that has been often preventing some individuals from harnessing their full potential as leaders in their own right.
If we focus our energy on simplicity featuring in both our theories and our actions, then our intentions and goals become rather easy for any individual or team to buy into.
This makes it easier for your team to follow you into whatever battle you’re about to face.
Put simply, the greatest leaders have the intelligence quotient to simplify a problem, and the emotional intelligence to be able to communicate it simply enough for followers to understand on their terms, which will leave them genuinely feeling inspired to take action.
Andy Reid is and award winning Auctioneer, he is currently Head of Training for Century 21 and Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate. He also provides consulting advice to others wishing to bring more IQ to their game.