Jun 13, 2017   //   by Gail Barker   //   Blog, Previous Blog Posts  //  No Comments

Leadership & Simplicity: Can They Go Hand-in-Hand?

Confucius has been quoted as saying “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” These are brilliant words, from my perspective; words that apply to so much of how we live these days, particularly as leaders.

In recent months, as I find myself working with more groups and teams, I’m noticing exactly how leaders stumble into the trap of taking something seemingly innocuous and making it unnecessarily complicated. Policies are created when a short conversation would suffice; elaborate procedures are put in place to address simple challenges; lengthy meetings are held to address problems that could be resolved in the moment.

These are but a few examples of how simple matters take on a complicated turn. I’m sure you can think of some very real, practical examples of your own to add to the list. Rest assured, this sort of thing happens all the time, and it’s getting in the way of effectiveness.

One of the reasons we gravitate toward the complicated, is our lack of appreciation of the simple. We negate the value of a simple solution, time and time again. Instead we subscribe to a misguided belief that the more complicated something is, the more value it adds. Trust me when I say that this belief has got to get kicked to the curb. Complicated is never better than simple. In fact, our goal as leaders should always be to find the SIMPLE solution.

When we embrace complicated over simple, there is much at stake. We waste time and resources. We drain the energy of our teams. We muddy otherwise clear waters. We lose sight of objectives. Ultimately, we set ourselves up for failure.

Bottom-line: while it might be tempting to believe that something complicated is required to address a challenge, this is rarely true. Effective leaders understand and embrace the value of simplicity. Simple solutions are the key to resolving all challenges. Seek the simple solution, and enjoy the sense of flow that comes about as a result.

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