Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.
—General Colin Powell
As General Powel states above, leadership does not need to be complicated. In point of fact, the General makes it clear that complexity is actually the antithesis of the Leader’s role. By contrast, when leading a team (or organization) to achieve a particular objective, it is usually possible to provide direction to the process in order to reach a point of clarity (and therefore simplicity).
Here are five steps that may serve to help us keep it simple:
When in a discussion and/or leading a group in a task, keep the main goal in mind throughout: write and post the main goal in a location where everyone can see it during the entirety of the discussion/process.
Solicit from the team (and listen to) the options for achieving the goal.
Ask for and consider the pros and cons of each option - without letting this phase of the discussion turn into a debate, i.e. request both pros and cons for each option.
Based on the above, select (or allow the team to select) the most favorable option.
Clarify in writing the solution that has been selected, and post it below the goal for all to see.
As General Powel has expressed, “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers…” With this in mind, I will work diligently this week in my areas of responsibility to “keep it simple.”