Let's KISS: How Exceptional Leaders Are Obsessed With Simplifying Everything!


We've all heard the adage "Keep It Simple, Stupid." But, do we really know how to practice this advice? This article offers a view of what keeping it simple looks like.

Here are seven "Keep It Simple" ideas worth considering:

  1. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by having a vision and communicating it. Leaders can engage and inspire their teams by telling a story that compels them to come together and give their personal best effort to the realization of that vision. The best leaders keep it simple by ensuring everyone in the organization is working to achieve the same set of goals.
  2. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by keeping their door wide-open. By practicing an open door policy makes it simple for team members to seek guidance and surface issues that may impact success. This important characteristic of a winning culture sets a tone and enables simple communication among everyone on the team.
  3. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by never spinning the facts. They prefer to keep it real by telling the truth. As a result, people within their teams don’t have to guess if their leader is being honest and authentic – they simplify the workplace by removing any doubt about direction and intent.
  4. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by addressing conflict before it festers. Bad feelings among teammates kill performance and devastate team morale. As challenging as this can be, the most admired leaders get things out in the open and work to resolve ill-will by reminding everyone on their teams about what the shared goals are, and the responsibilities that each person has to doing their jobs for the good of the organization.
  5. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by focusing on results and not on effort! It’s wonderful that people “try” their best and go above and beyond for the good of the team. However, winning in the marketplace does not come because people try hard. Rather, winning in the marketplace comes with results. The best leaders keep it simple by emphasizing results and ensure that their staffers understand and focus on achieving the organization’s end goals.
  6. Exceptional leaders keep it simple by giving credit to the team and feature their people’s accomplishments, whenever they can. This is a simple way to reward performance and helps people to appreciate what comes from their best efforts – making things simple for everyone to understand!
  7. Lastly, and perhaps, most importantly exceptional leaders keep it simple by constantly seeking to reduce everything that their teams do every day. By reducing action to the simplest level of effort required to achieve extraordinary results is the way that the best leaders create the simplest work environment for their people.

To close, talking about simplicity and reiterating tired, old axioms about it is not enough. Rather, it is a leader’s responsibility to make the workplace as simple as possible to allow their people to perform at an exceptionally high level. Indeed, it is on us to provide the "right" type of leadership in the "right" way in order to ensure our people can keep it simple.

By James Kerr

Keywords: Leadership, Future of Work, Change Management

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