Simplify Your Leadership

The subject of leadership is so HUGE it can easily be overwhelming. When the brain is overwhelmed it goes into shut down mode. That is why giving people too much information or requiring too much from them often makes them do worse rather than better. The right amount of information and challenge energizes and invigorates, however. That is why getting a clear, memorable, definition and description of any important subject, like leadership is so important. Especially for the majority, who have a fear of being in leadership positions and they feel that fear because they don’t understand what it is or how to do it well.
• (If you are in leadership and love it, you still need to read this because if you want to build something great you will need to understand people and help them step into great leadership. Plus, many great leaders I know have trouble staying on the main thing because it’s not crystal clear in their minds.)
I do a lot of work helping individuals and organization discover their unique purpose. Answering the why and what questions are essential to answering the other important how, when, who questions. First why and what, then the others. I use 5 primary purpose indicators and 5 secondary/support indicators to help people and groups clarify their reason for existence. Like most coaches/consultants the goal is to get a clear purpose/mission statement that is short enough to fit on a tee shirt (Peter Drucker’s insight) and simple enough that a 10 year old can understand it. It sounds easy, but it is not. It takes a lot of thought, discussion, and many re-writes to get something that can be used to guide everything an individual or organization does. It is well worth it, though, because it multiplies results, unifies everyone, and helps us say yes to the right things and no to the other, sometimes good, options.
After using this process for several years I came upon an article by Guy Kawasaki in which he made the point, he works with people to take it a step further and get their purpose/mission statement down to 1-3 words in a mantra. Something that could be said quickly, easily and repeatedly to not only keep things clear but to help train the brain to stay focused and on-track. Mission drift happens so easily, most of the time without even recognizing it, that something like this mantra seemed like a great idea. So I began implementing it myself and using it with clients and it proved very valuable in staying focused on the main things.
I believe leadership is best broken up into three main aspects or ABC’s: Authentic Authority—Band of Followers–Change that Matters . When I keep those three categories in mind, it helps me know how to think through key issues and develop simple but effective plans. As you think through your leadership issues if you ask yourself questions based on these three categories, you will come up with productive insights:
Authentic Authority. Am I coummicating and modeling authentically? Who am I/we? What is my passion? What are my strengths? What is my style? Am I stepping into my areas of authority?
Band of Followers. Who do I/we serve? What are their needs? What are their dreams? What can and should we give them?
Change that Matters. What steps can we take to help them change? What is stopping us? What solutions can we implement?
As far as I can tell after 30 years in leadership positions, if you will simply keep those three categories in mind regarding your leadership and use them for planning and taking action, you will cover every key area of your leadership. Later we will break these down further and talk about the skills involved in leading in these areas, but if you discipline yourself to regularly think in terms of ABC; authentic authority band of followers /clients/teammates, and look at the changes you want to produce you will stay focused and be lead in your unique and effective way.
This is obviously not the only way to break it down but it works for me. What are your thoughts?

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