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When it comes to leadership, I can't help but think about the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple, stupid). People are complicated beings, but we all like be treated with dignity and respect - simple right?

I recently heard from a longtime colleague, Kurt, who shared a great story with me about a leader he worked for early in his career. This leader was more than his manager, he was a true coach. He was always convincing his direct reports that their one-on-one time was more about what each of them needed to be successful in their role NOT what he needed them to do or be.

Clear and simple. Leaders have an obligation to their followers to provide the vision of where the organization is headed using clear and simple messages. A lot goes on during the day/month/year so it's imperative that leaders repeat these messages often and relate to the team how the day to day activities support the business objectives that need to be achieved.

One book recently written about developing a simple leadership style is Leadership Simple - Leading People to Lead Themselves by Steve and Jill Morris. This book provides a simple set of tools for showing leaders how to get great results from their team. Some of the concepts include how to develop shared leadership, five simple questions for your direct reports, and how to gain accountability and behavior change that sticks.

The other book is Leading So People Will Follow written by Erika Andersen. This book outlines six characteristics Erika feels one must have in order to be a leader that someone wants to follow. A leader must be farsighted, passionate, courageous, wise, generous and trustworthy. She is quite adamant that without these six characteristics you will have a rough go at leadership.

Leaders need to be willing to coach and grow tomorrow's leaders. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have all the answers if you are the leader. By fostering a culture of shared leadership with your team, everyone will win.


Larry Hart

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