5 Reasons Why Simple Leadership Rocks

I think we’ve been sold a lie. That leadership has to be difficult and complicated. But a recent blog post about unconventional ways to lead brought out that many leaders have learned the truth.

Simple leadership rocks and more leaders need to hop onto the train.

While I’m a fan of simple leadership, it got me thinking about the reason why. I believe it deserves a deeper look.

After thinking through the reasons why our leadership needs to be simple, I came up with 5 reasons to lead with simplicity.

1. Simple leadership allows for clear communication: When leaders are leading with simplicity, they’re much more apt to speak and communicate with a simpler message. This allows the leader to give directions in ways their team members will understand. It also helps prevent misunderstandings.

2. Simple leadership allows breathing room: Since you’re leading simply, you’re able to have more margin in your work life. Your communication is more effective. You don’t have to spend the time going over the message again and again. You’re able to demonstrate what needs to be done without the need for multiple training sessions.

All of this opens up your availability and gives you time to rest. Rest is vital for a leader as it gives you time to think clearly and recharge for the daily stress.

3. Simple leadership allows for consistency: When the directions and processes are simple, you’re better able to predict the consistency you want as a leader. As Michael Nichols mentioned in the comments of the Unconventional Leadership post: Simple communication, simple processes, simple outcomes.

4. Simple leadership creates faithful followers: People really like simple solutions. They’re looking for what needs to be done and how to do it. When you’re leading simply, people are drawn to it. They see you’re able to communicate clearly (point #1) and you get the job done consistently (point #3). They want to be a part of leadership like this. Give them simple!

5. Simple leadership shows you value your team’s time: Your team’s time is valuable. They have so many projects and tasks on their plates, many times they’re overwhelmed. You show you value your team by leading and communicating simply.

Simple leadership doesn’t mean you’re not in it. It shows that you care about your team.

You’re showing your team that you want to have clear communication, a healthy breathing room, consistency, create faithful followers, and that you value their time.

This is the heart of leadership. Caring about your team and valuing what they do. When you lead simply, you’re telling your team you recognize this.

Start leading simply today!

Question: What can you do today to become a simple leader? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Follow the KISS principle. Keep It Super Simple.

    (Betcha thought I was going to be derogatory and use the “old” Keep It Simple, Stupid line. Well, I have decided to re-coin KISS to stand for “Keep It Super Simple” since I like positive sayings!)

    • You got me again Lorraine! I thought it was going to be the Keep It Simple Stupid acronym. How are you keeping things super simple?

      • I am “getting busy living”! Next month, I will be writing a blog post all about this…so make sure to visit my blog!

  • “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” It’s something I’ve been aiming for. There are two major things most leaders have lost. Simplicity and Common Sense. I’m glad there’s a new wave of leaders grasping on to it again.

    • I’m glad that leaders are catching onto the concepts of simplicity and common sense once again as well Josue. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to grasp these concepts but we all tend to struggle with them.

      You mentioned you’ve been aiming for simplicity again. What’s working for you as you move towards simplicity?

      • I guess we just love complicating things. It’s part of our nature. It makes us look “more” important. Little do we know, we drown in our own ideas.

        Wrote about it a couple of days back. http://www.josuemolina.com/too-many-ideas-too-little-execution/

        Prioritizing and Organizing really helps. As I look at the big picture, what I want and what time I have, I begin to cut some ideas aways. Some are assigned dates; others are sent to the grave or probably pitched to someone else to carry with it.

  • I like to keep things simple. I have seen leaders make things so complex that they really don’t understand what’s going on. If you make things too complex, you will lose the people involve. I found when you make processes simple, you get better results.

    • Bernard, that’s many leaders these days! If they don’t understand, how will their team?

    • That’s right. And results are a must if you want to lead effectively and gain momentum.

  • I’m a minimalist at heart and keep things simple. I see no reason why leadership should be any different.

    • It shouldn’t Dan. Glad you’re seeing this!

  • DS

    Simplicity allows duplication. Simplicity allows adherence. Funny you mentioned Michael Nichols because in his post today under the header “professional wants” he lists simple systems – http://www.michaelnichols.org/making-major-decisions/

    • That’s really funny David. This is the second time, that we’ve noticed, Michael and I’s post line up in the thought realm. Thanks for sharing the post.

      • DS

        What a great person to get paired with!

  • I love this simple breakdown of simplicity in leadership. Complex leadership too often is more about the leader and their ego, and less those who need leadership the most.
    I love this quote from Colin Powell: “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

    • You’re onto something Jonathan. Complexity often comes from a complex.

  • Time is so valuable, we are all limited on time, I appreciate it when people respect my time and don’t waste it. Get to the point. I think Jesus is a great example of this. He cut to the heart of matters and didn’t beat around the bush. This offended some, but that’s because they didn’t recognize the love behind His actions/words.

  • With clear, simple directions I can execute. If I cannot give clear, simple directions to others it is usually because I do not understand myself or I am not in the present moment thinking about how to serve them with clear directions.
    I failed to give clear, simple directions this weekend and it cost me a few dollars. That got my attention real quick.

    • Sutton, thanks for sharing an example from your life. It can be shocking how valuable that clear communication really is.

  • I think a clear vision leads to clear communication. There’s a great book on this called “Made to Stick” by Heath and Heath. I highly recommend it for anyone who needs a team (or a marketplace) to catch a vision.

    Effectively, the vision then works as a sort of filter by which you run your actions through.

    Ultimately, simplicity is key. I think Apple is a great modern day example of applying the “keep it simple” philosophy.

    • The Heath brothers are great Sean. Their book Decisive has been of more value than I could have hoped. I’ll have to check out Made To Stick.

      • Decisive is now on my reading list. Thanks Joe.

        • My pleasure Sean. It will open your eyes that you might not be examining all of the choices as you make decisions.

  • I’m finding more and more that simple is the way to go with a lot of things, it’s too easy to want to complicate and add a bunch of stuff. Simple leadership makes it easy for everyone.

    • Awesome Kimanzi! It’s funny how we can get bogged down with so much of the clutter and noise and over-complicate our situations. How are you simplifying?

  • I think the best way is to have an overall purpose. It’s so easy to get caught up in activity. But purpose is the ultimate regulator: if its line with our purpose we do it, if not we dont

    • Mike, that’s a great point. When we’re clear on what we desire, it’s easy to focus on that and break it down.

  • I like the sound of “simple leadership” but what does it mean? I read this post waiting for you to define it, after all we do live in a complicated world and people are very complicated. I’m all for simplifying things as long as the simplification doesn’t lead to further complications down the road.

    • Caleb, looks like you got me there! I didn’t clearly define what simple leadership was, just what flows from it. This is something I’ll have to define better in a future post but for simplicity’s sake I’ll be brief. Simple leadership is leading with easy to understand goals and objectives and clear communication. If your mother can’t understand how or why you’re leading, it’s probably not simple.

  • Dan Forbes

    Joseph, I smiled when I cam across your post as I have a post queued for publication next month about leadership being simple. I go in a different direction than you, but I’m glad to see your ideas expressed here.

    We do tend to make leadership seem harder than it really is.

    • I can’t wait to see what you have to say Dan! It’s always interesting to see how different leaders have the same thoughts around the same time.

      • Dan Forbes

        Yes. It was to be published yesterday, but I was inspired to post something else. I’m taking a 10 Day Sabbatical from Social Media and email beginning the end of this week. {First time ever}. So, I’ve delayed the post. You’ll see it, I’m sure.

        • I’m sure I will as I’m subscribed to your email list. You’ve been a great resource of information.

          Enjoy your time away from the electronic noise. Come back refreshed and renewed!

  • I’d suggest that keeping things simple eliminates waste…and that saves time and money for everyone. I’ve found the more successful the leader, the greater the ability they have to keep things simple.

  • James Strock

    Terrific reminder. If leadership is not simple in execution, then it’s very difficult to have it scale. Thanks for fine post.

    • You’re welcome James. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. What’s one way you’re leading simply?

  • I can create a small list of “musts” and let go of the rest. For example, I must meet with my team members one-on-one at least once a month. I must send out a thank you note at least once a week. And then I need to learn to let go of the rest of the stuff – especially when it just won’t fit into the busyness of the schedule.

    • Jon, great work! By narrowing down to a list of specifics, you can definitely lead simply.

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