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Leadership: Straight Forward and Uncomplicated

The idea behind leadership is to use influence to empower others to work together for a worthy cause that in some measure adds value to society. In the process the team is challenged and stretched by their collaborative efforts.

In recent years I’ve grown tired of watching our elected officials attack one another with almost reckless abandonment. Hearing how both sides spin facts and frame their arguments makes me wonder whatever happened to let’s agree to “respectfully” disagree? How does bad behavior add value to anyone?

“It’s not personal, it’s strictly business” – Michael Corleone (The Godfather)

It seems to me that many leaders are missing the fact that we can work together and successfully address issues without complicating them by vilifying those whose ideas differ from our own, it really is that simple.

Simplicity begins with separating the ideas from the people who espouse them. You and I may be tasked with working together on a project and differ on how we believe we should approach it. The power of collaboration is neutralized once we decide to make our differences personal. Secure Leaders get the most from their teams by managing their relationships. I believe the synergistic power of teamwork is in direct proportion to the selflessness of each member of the team.

Merriam-Webster defines teamwork as, “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.”(1)  Now that’s straightforward and uncomplicated.

Complexities Abound in the Absence of Simplicity and Authenticity – JSP

I’m an uncomplicated person who enjoys living a simple even paced life. I do my best to think clearly about everything that concerns me, my identity, my responsibilities and my purpose in life. I find that a lifestyle of simplicity and honesty (with myself and others) works for me, it doesn’t eliminate the complexities of life but, it does make handling the issues less complicated.

I believe that simplicity requires authenticity. The moment we introduce dishonesty into the equation we make things complicated. I have one life to live and it tells one story, being dishonest adds another storyline – and the plot thickens.

Life can at times be difficult enough, why add another narrative and tax my memory? Duplicity carries more baggage than I can handle such as; distrust, which strains relationships (personal and business) and clouds everything we do with an air of suspicion.

An Honest and Simple Lifestyle Requires Work

Being truthful all the time requires diligence. Being truthful with ourselves though painful at times is a journey that rewards us with a growing self-awareness, the honesty is priceless. Many leaders avoid this journey because it makes us vulnerable, and vulnerability is still viewed as a sign of weakness in many circles.

Brené Brown aptly states, “I think the people who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses in this world. This is especially true of people who rumble with failure. These are people who choose courage over comfort, accountability over blame, and are able to embed key learnings from failures into their lives.” (2)

The strength of our relationships will be in direct proportion to the depth of our emotional transparency. Mutual honesty and vulnerability enhances our level of connectedness. This might sound complicated, but it is in fact a commitment to simplicity and authenticity. Imagine a society committed to simple truthfulness.

“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” -Thomas Paine

Sometimes we introduce dishonesty into a relationship for fear of offending someone. Our motive may be to do no harm but, in the end our credibility is compromised once the truth is discovered. I find that being true to myself includes being truthful to others about my thoughts and feelings.

There are benefits to a simple straightforward lifestyle:

Some studies indicate that positive healthy side effects follow practicing truthfulness and simplifying our lifestyles.

  1. Stronger Relationships. Authenticity and simplicity open the door to mutually productive relationships. Connecting on a personal level is always more meaningful.

  2. Openness. There’s a peace of mind in knowing where you stand.

  3. Trustworthy. Confidence and effectiveness rise to the level of trust.

  4. Simplicity. Anyone can get behind a worthy cause they can understand.

  5. Well Being. Authenticity and simplicity produce less stress, anxiety, confusion, and negativity.

(1)  Merriam-Webster dictionary (2)  Adapted from “Rising Strong” by Brené Brown

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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