Seek simple to become a better leader.

by James Kerr




Keep it simple, stupid. The KISS principle, as it is widely known, is so ingrained in our vernacular that, regardless of your lot in life, you have likely heard it.

It is my contention that, because of its pervasiveness, the expression (and its meaning) has lost its punch. Unfortunately, nowhere does it appear more that KISS has lost its sheen than in leadership circles. Somewhere along the way, business leaders have lost sight of the fact that simple is better. Preferring, instead, to over-complicate much of what it takes to be an exceptional leader.

Consider some of the more popular leadership topics dominating current business thought pieces today:

· Emotional Intelligence

· Trust

· Empowerment

· Culture

· Engagement

All have garnered complicated and over-engineered treatments by self-proclaimed leadership gurus attempting to take credit for contriving approaches for easy application of the concepts within businesses.

I prefer to keep things simple. I believe that if we treat people decently, they will follow us.

Am I not considered emotional intelligent if I demonstrate empathy for others? Do I not build trust by operating transparently? Won’t I begin to reset my company culture if I treat people fairly? Isn’t decency at the core of each of these ideas?


If you agree, can’t we take a step towards simplicity and work on being decent? It seems, if we do that, we will improve our trust, empowerment and engagement potential as leaders. Sure, we can apply complex theories and attend training sessions that help us to be better listeners, communicators and the like. However, all of those skills start in a place that suggests we want to behave more decently.

Let me share a few ideas for how we can keep things simple as we work to improve our leadership effectiveness.


How To Keep It Simple

Here are 6 ways to keep our leadership approach simple and be more decent to the people that we work with:


1. Know what’s important – The pursuit of every “shiny object” that comes our way only confuses and frustrates the people whom we lead. By keeping our focus on what’s truly important to business success helps us ignore the distractions that can lead to chaos and shambolic leadership.


2. Don’t seek perfection – The pursuit of perfection overcomplicates your leadership style. It adds another layer of “