It’s difficult to be a leader alone

Being a leader is a very complex role. Especially in our time, when leaders would be required to know enough to support the team they are leading – says Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the video below:

They should know the needs of different minorities, like women, children, people with special needs etc. They should be able to balance on a shaking technological, economic and political ground. They supposed to deal with a shifting market, globalization and growing influence of social media.

If each and every field of our life is such complex how one person would be capable of leading a whole organization alone? Well, as Leonardo said a couple of hundred years ago:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

What it means for leaders of our time? First of all: great leaders eliminate or at least simplify the complexity. They understand that too complex situations slow developments and stifle innovations, so they break it down into easy, achievable steps. They are also first in line for rolling up their sleeves and work alongside with their team. They not just promote cooperation and collaboration with this act, but express gratitude towards their people and also show that they can be humble and deflate their ego.

They know that their people can lift them up or drag them down. It all depends on the way they treat them and think of themselves as leaders. Great leaders let their people be: they are not afraid of training and coaching them, helping them to develop and the possibility of being out-shined by one of their team members. They know how to set experts by their side and make them to work toward to a clearly defined purpose.

The foundation of their designed and sustainable culture is: shared values, common purpose and aligned vision. They shift their focus from profit to purpose because they understand that a company culture designed around the above listed values will reward them in the long run.

They really listen: they value those employee who are not afraid of pointing at problems by providing the solution at the same time. They ensure that everyone at the organization feels safe, valued and empowered to contribute to the success. They are great and assertive communicators and write clear, brief and thoughtful messages. They allow their positions to be challenged and always ready to learn even from their coworkers and subordinates.

Great leaders understand that nothing is more personal than leadership: they are truly engaged and display empathy, kindness and compassion. They understand that they cannot achieve peak performance without their team, so they put a tremendous amount of energy in engaging, training and helping them in achieving success. They already realized that flow is good business for them – their and their organizations’ life might depend on their ability of putting their coworkers into the state of flow.