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Before you start reading, let’s try to understand basic terminology used “Leader”
What do you mean by leader? Who is a good leader ?
A real leader is one who does not want to be a leader or is not interested in any followers. Follower present or not present does not impact a leader. A leader is one who is, first of all, is able to distinguish what is right and what is wrong. Leader has the intellect, knowledge and experience to guide the people in the right direction in the right way. A true leader does not require any followers or group of people. A good leader generally does not have any ego and is open to feedback and suggestions. They are able to correct themselves easily and quickly without any hesitation when they know that something is wrong(most of the times before anyone points out at them). Leaders are not teachers and don't look at teaching the preachings of their own. They act as a guide and don't want to superimpose their thoughts on others. They provide the logic, benefits, and effects of doing the right things, they want people to experiment and question the thought process in case if they feel that something is wrong and if it can be made better. Leaders are actually learners and act as a guide, who are always ready to learn even better concepts/thoughts/ideas. Leaders don't look to misguide and test others, which is actually a rework and waste of time, effort and energy. They don't want to show off that they are superior or they have any superiority complex.
A leader always looks to help others and doesn't want people to follow them. They are in fact independent and are not dependent on people.
They have a purpose, which is very clear and they don't try to influence anyone. So the scope of influence is not present. They put the thoughts and logic in front of others and want others to take decision in an independent way. A good leader neither forces anyone or even tries to influence anyone. They want people to learn by themselves, from within - which is more effective, permanent and everlasting.
- Once we have understood the real meaning of leader - we can now move on to the popular concept of situational Leadership.
What is Situational Leadership? The situational theory of leadership suggests that no single leadership style is best. Instead, it all depends on the situation at hand and which type of leadership and strategies are best-suited to the task. According to this theory, the most effective leaders are those that are able to adapt their style to the situation and look at cues such as the type of task, the nature of the group, and other factors that might contribute to getting the job done.
Now we will try to understand what is Simple Leadership? Simple leadership does not focus on dealing with Situations (symptoms), Its major focus on ensuring that situations do not arise, where we require multiple styles to manage people. It is more focussed on the system, processes, ethics, morals, working principles and environment which leaders build. Here, the leader is not required to manage people and the concept of management is eliminated everywhere. Everyone can be managed by the principle of guidance and support of people around. In reality, we require only real leaders and no manager or the reportee/subordinate. Focus is always to remove the root cause of problems, rather than spending time to manage the symptoms. One size fits all, one style which can help in achieving our desired goals and objectives. We will learn more about how to implement such a concept and how to manage the various challenges which can arise out of this concept.
Now Lets Look at the difference Simple Leadership Vs Situational Leadership Situational leadership has been very popular over a period of time. However, we have not realized that we are working on trying to cure the symptom rather than looking at the root cause. It may be surprising that we have not focussed on such a simple thing which was so straight forward. It is like seeing the God in the form of SUN every day and still trying to see the creator everywhere. We are just going in vicious circles and looking to move forward, as we not straight within our own self. Everyone wants to control the other person, to show their supremacy or greatness. In situational leadership we are not focused on removing the nonvalue added work and people are very happy to control/dominate others rather than leading them to achieve their goal or make others successful.
Now you may think that, how will such a simple but amazing concept work. It may look impossible - but we have made it simple to execute. However, it requires one-time huge effort to lay the strongest foundation. Post which your company can reap the unlimited benefits, which would be an outcome of the simple leadership model.
Let's Go One by One - All are equally important and nothing should be ignored.
What do you mean by superiority complex? What is the problem of thinking that we are superior to others? Leaders don't think that they are superior to someone - it is as simple as that. People who think that they are superior to others always develop Ego, and they are bound to differentiate people, which is the root cause of most of the problems. That is the reason in simple leadership, we don’t have anyone as manager/supervisor or superior person to supervise others.
“Speak only truth or be silent” Why is this so powerful to achieve a leaderless environment? Lot of people are teaching and advocating to speak the opposite of a lie to manage people or run the organization. Their intelligence is not developed and they create scenarios where they are habituated to speak lies or tell the opposite. Where people are not encouraged to speak the truth, people build up superiority complex and false sense of pride and ego. They are always looking to teach and preach people and are not interested to improve themselves first. They always try to protect themselves by showing someone else as wrong. Such kind of people always think that it is their responsibility alone to make the working environment better. The ego becomes so strong, that they start creating excuses to speak lies and do things differently and use the power and intellect in the wrong direction. Here, people want to set examples of others and they fear of improving themselves first. In such an environment people intelligence is more developed on how to cheat or lay traps for others and control others in all possible ways. People are habituated to speak lies and they find thousands of excuses, to showcase that they cannot run the business without saying lie. They cannot find even a single reason to speak the right thing at the right time.
Some leaders are addicted to lying and they cannot manage people by speaking the truth or being straight forward. They try to cover all this up by giving multiple explanations. However, they will not put effort or try to lead the people in the perfect way. They are in their comfort zone and this has been named as Pathological lying (also called pseudologia fantastica and mythomania) is a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck. Although it is a controversial topic, pathological lying has been defined as "falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, maybe extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime".
When people cannot speak truth, which means that they are the weakest and are always looking for some support to move ahead. Also by speaking lies and trying to avoid the truth you thought process is also reversed and cannot be realized. People easily build a false sense of ego and pride.
So speaking truth itself, solves multiple problems at one go. It helps to develop trust, build transparency and fosters teamwork. Most importantly helps in avoiding dirty politics.
No Observer: Why there is no observer? Here there is no observer or the observed, here people are not dependent on someone to find their mistakes It is an open culture, where people come and accept their mistakes and take up the course of corrective actions to ensure that their thought process is corrected. You yourself become the witness of your own actions, there is no one to find mistakes in you. When people stop criticizing each other and appreciate others, people automatically come forward to improve themselves. This can happen when people are free and there is no penalty to improve themselves or correcting themselves.
No need to observe anyone: Here there is no need to observe anyone, unless the work is getting impacted. The system automatically detects the area or factor which is leading to the stagnation of work. The person gets surfaced in an automated way.
No Concept of testing each other: If we don't test others, how will we be able to assess the capability or talent? The rules are very clear and the hiring is done, with very high standards. Post the person is hired, they are taken through 30-day training on how to deal with every situation and how to react. What are the Do’s and dont’s. What should be done, in case they don’t have clarity is provided in the culture book - People can easily search and find the behavior which they need to demonstrate. Anyone can add a new scenario if it is not existing and the culture team looks into the same to approve and make the corrections if required to be online for everyone to see. Everything is taken before the hiring - It is as simple as that. Look at the example, where people are asked to leave the company if they are not fitting the culture. https://www.thehrdigest.com/what-is-the-internal-culture-like-at-zappos/
Daily meditation and the concept of Oneness: Why is this required? Before starting the work, people are asked to do a guided meditation session and do a prayer, similar to what you would have done in a school. This makes people aware of themselves (without self/selfishness). This is mandatory for every person who is working, from a sweeper to the CEO.
Assistance cell - How is it different from an HR? When people are not capable to deal with a situation, they can reach out to assistance cell. When people are not able to finish the work which was planned and accepted by themselves, they can reach out to them to get the guidance and help required and realign themselves in a proper way so that they can contribute more than what they are taking home. Identifying the weakest link in the process: Most of the projects and tasks are pending even after doing all the work, here the concept of weakest link or the metric of waiting time comes into picture. When any work goes beyond a specific timeline, automated alerts are sent to the group of people who are responsible for getting the things done.
Reason for the delay Always document the reason for delay and the respective teams will work on it to get the same corrected. If a particular team is getting negative feedback, they will be assessed by a team of specialist
Cross-functional inputs Due credit and acknowledgment should be provided to other teams who are providing valuable inputs. This can be worked out as a provisional credit to the person who has helped other teams.
Ratings and scores of teams and individuals: Individuals and team ratings will be based on the peer feedback, backed up with data, logic and facts.
Fewer Levels: Everyone contributes and it is close to a flat structure. However, the roles, responsibilities and departments of people differ. No one is small or big.
Salary Differentiator is based on Ethics, Vision, honesty, principles/values, output/results, speed of delivery, response to issues, improvement/new initiatives, Creativity and innovation, learning and development, attitude, positive behavior, teamwork, collaboration with other cross-functional teams. People are also penalized and shown the negative aspects when they are erring. We need to have both (negative and positive) aspects to every parameter. The ratings are backed up with data and fact so that people can understand what is bringing them down and what is helping them. It does not mean that negative and positive can be set off. Even a single negative aspect is treated as independent, even when the person has 100 good things with him. The environment ensures that people work on the negative aspects and don't repeat them in the future. These ratings received by people on all these parameters decide the pay which they would get every quarter. Nothing is fixed, the base pay and the bonus gets revised according to the performance of an individual. Special achievements deserve shares of the company or a special incentive.
Linking the work on all the parameters, values and principles. Every accomplishment and activity is measured and rated on the things which were exhibited. This simple technique makes the working culture lively, stronger and helps others also to follow.
Silence and Listening: People talk in very limited words only words which are required to get the work done. Silence is golden and gossip is forbidden. During working hours no external topics which are not related to work should be encouraged by anyone. The focus should only be on the work. All other topics can be taken up, during breaks or outside working hours.
Avoidance of Meetings and starting continuum of efforts to implement: Most of the companies suffer the syndrome of doing only meetings, with very less output. In this concept, meeting are strict no and every possible effort is made to avoid a meeting unless it is a very special and urgent scenario which requires people to meet and discuss or get clarification.
All performance review meetings are self-explanatory and are discussed with documents on the shared drive/folder where everyone can connect and discuss on the cloud itself. People are expected to have all the relevant information on the shared folders, properly arranged and labeled. So that it is easy for people to find and search for the information.
Teams are encouraged to create a platform of developing synergies with all the concerned people and teams in a systematic and in structured ways, without any meetings. This helps in getting the things done, quickly rather then discussing or having any meetings. Meeting are considered as nonproductive and a sin for the company.
Provision to provide feedback in a constructive way and a provision for dialogue: Employees are encouraged to provide constructive feedback and openness to take reverse feedback.
Proactive Approach to avoid mistakes and identify issues when they are small are appreciated In most of the organizations we see that people are not appreciated for avoiding mistakes or for identifying issues proactively. We see that the benefits are very hard to quantify and the goodwill of the company(impacted) is very difficult to measure. They are recognized and rewarded, only when they solve a big issue or problem which had already caused significant losses or had incurred high cost to the company.
Focus on Hows is more than what has been achieved Most of the companies follow the goal-oriented approach and are least bothered on how did they accomplish the goals. Even, if they had achieved the goal or have delivered the results by deceiving people, telling lies or cheating or playing politics nothing is important, for most of the organizations. The results only matter and the ways to achieve are given the least importance. Hence, most of the employees are encouraged not to take the right path to achieve results.
No teachers only guides/Mentors: We discourage people to teach or preach their concepts. We want leaders to be only guides and help people only when they are stuck and are unable to solve the problem or issue on hand as required.
Appreciate good work immediately without any comparison:
Root cause analysis: Whenever any issue happens, someone else has to find the root cause of the problem. In this culture, the people are trained in such a way that a group of people where the issue happened to take collective responsibility and do the root cause with the person who has done the mistake. Here, the person who has done the mistake is given freedom to express the reasons which lead to the mistake. Everyone looks at correcting the process and the blame is not on the person, who did the mistake.
No separate team of HR / Quality assurance / Process improvement/training: Most often we see various teams and departments which manage different type of work. Here the major stress is to avoid the work being split to as few departments as possible and the focus is to integrate the various responsibilities within the team, rather than someone supervising from outside the team. The roles are rotated within the team so that everyone gets the overall experience.
Correction unit: People who accept the mistakes are made to undergo a period of self-assessment and take a leave from the work till they feel that, they are corrected. As a person having a serious flaw can affect other people at work, they are advised to take a long leave and are suggested to correct their behavior.
Easy and fast movement of people within other processes and departments: The Movements of people from one team to another team are also made quicker and faster when some people don’t gel well together.
Ego free people is the key requirement for this concept to flourish, people don’t get credit when they focus on self.
Greatness/group ego/group identity/Place or region: Our society has been habituated to work with group ego and identity from millions of years. Earlier, people used to form groups to be safe, as every group in order to prove their superiority wanted to attach each other. Here, people are encouraged to work with different teams in various places to get the things done. This factor serves as a very critical aspect of achieving success.
No intention to harm others: No need to prove yourself, however, you are working to use collective thought process to make the outcome best.
Treating people like people and not machines. Employees are the cogs in the machine used to profit the people at the top. In servant leadership, the business metaphor is that it's an organic structure of open and authentic relationships. The authority is quite clear: one is top-down, the other thrives through collaboration and participation by the whole group.
Leaders are involved in the work and don't dictate as Managers who are often detached and distant. You may not even see or know who those leaders are because they rarely come out of their "cave." They alienate their staff with their invisible act and superiority complex, which stems from an insecurity and lack of confidence in their inability to influence, persuade, and rally the troops. In simple leadership, leaders are connected and present, walk their four corners and are very engaged in the work of those around them.
FAQ’s - Frequently asked question
1 What is the key ingredient, to make this concept successful? Ego free person - when ego is not present. Everything happens in a perfect way without any effort. Ego loss as "... complete transcendence − beyond words, beyond space−time, beyond self. There are no visions, no sense of self, no thoughts. There are only pure awareness and ecstatic freedom to see only your work and actions.
2 In Practical life we see diverse situations and to manage each situation, every leader has to act differently with different types of people? How can you think of simple leadership?
We have created an environment where people are habituated to say false things, do buttering, impress people, ensure that the ego of the other person is fulfilled, importance to personnel ego is very high, people want to be appreciated to provide the deserving credit, People primarily follow human sentiments and not process, rules or guidelines to work and get the work done. If all the pre-written things are eliminated and if people are habituated to be transparent, ensure that people earn trust only by speaking truth, principles of cheating others is avoided by the leadership team, avoiding ego and ensure that respect to all is present, avoid human sentiments while working and follow the processes, rules and guidelines set to work. Where everything is clearly documented and explained and people play the role of guide and supporter. Here decisions are taken based on data and facts. People are tested thoroughly before they get hired. The concept of teaching and testing others is eliminated, people are only encouraged to learn from each other. Everything can be managed in simple, easy and in the most effective way.
3 When people are not matured and are not knowledgeable or cannot understand simple things, they have to be directed with clear and specific instructions. People have to be matured in the area of work for them to be guided. how can you eliminate this concept? If we hire people with the right set of attitudes, instead of focussing more on skills and talent. People are more likely to understand the simple things in a very easy way. When people don't have ego, they are more likely to accept what has been told to them and if still the person is not able to execute as per the requirements, there is a problem in which the person has been trained or the person is very good in something else basis his interest and talent. They should be moved where they are more happy and willing to work as they feel comfortable and are able to contribute. It is very simple and easy, however, all this works when people don't have an attitude or ego. Where people are not looking to show mistakes, however people are in the process of supporting them to overcome their problems.
4 How will such concept work? To build anything we have to lay a foundation. Here, we have to bring like-minded people who are willing to build the right environment, systems, and processes where people are willing to learn and implement the learning practically every day and achieve success. This can happen when the right set of leaders are appreciated and promoted, who are following the simple leadership principle only.
5 Why people are hesitant to speak the truth and be transparent? Why they want to hide the reality by giving excuses and having an illusion of doing good? People always look at taking shortcuts when they are incapable of doing the right things in the right way. They always find all excuses to do what they believe in, seldom they can think of doing the right things when even when the opportunity exists. They are full of ego and pride, they always believe in testing and teaching others, as they feel that they are full of knowledge and wisdom. Even after seeing the reality clearly, due to accumulated ego, they are unable to change themselves, even when opportunities exist.
6 Why people are always looking at teaching, observing and testing others? Why simple improvements within are not visible which can help others in simple and easy ways? People always have reached a stage which can be retained by having complex structures and processes. if everything becomes simple and easy to understand, where will people who have gathered enormous knowledge, will not get the required status or respect? They are always happy when simple things are distant from common people. If people are told that visible celestial objects, nature, parents, teachers and doing good to others is where god and goodness exist. The respect which religious leaders have will go away, as they have always tried to divide the people on various fronts and have created various situations which can help them to dictate terms to follow. People hold high designations in society because of the knowledge alone which they think is supreme. However, they don't have time to think, as to how they are not utilizing the knowledge in the right way when they know what is right.
The below video demonstrates, how the ego makes the knowledgeable person blind when simple things are also in front of them very clearly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqlRVSKnk6k
7 What is self-learning and how it should be promoted? Some people are of the opinion that we should leave people in circumstances and situations, which will help them to learn, grow and manage others easily. Here, the problem is if the person is required to learn, nature will take care. However, when knowledge has reached its peak the probability of ego getting developed is high. People take control of putting others in situations, where they can teach, which is actually not required at all. There is no need of creating situations or putting people in situations. They can be transparent and speak the real truth and can easily help others with more effectiveness.
8 Concept of pay on achieving the desired standards of work? Are the standards on which we are paying are right? Today we have people who are getting paid to control people, rather supporting or guiding them. People are working not to help people around us, but to manage and get the things done. Today famous quotes state the most talented people is the person who knows the art of managing people and getting the desired work done. Today people prefer executionist and not the one who can eliminate the problems which are leading to have an executionist.
We are habituated to have people around who want us to be dependent on others always. We are not thinking of how to become self-sustaining and self-fulfilling, always the need to depend on others to get the things done has been the limelight of our society and we feel so proud of it as well.
The real leader who should be getting paid is the person who is able to create an environment of trust, truth, transparency, thought leadership and teamwork (5T’s). When people wear this T-shirt - The right things will happen easily and effort to create the right environment will be more predominant, rather than focussing on people.
9 What is readiness and is it required in the simple leadership model? Readiness is always required, we need to be ready to embrace the right thoughts immediately. People should be trained to evolve to next levels, by always challenging the current status quo. If we are not challenging the current systems, we cannot grow. Always there is something, even more, better that is in store for us. This is the reason the universe is called as infinite and can only be experienced.
== In short, we should be ready to embrace the change. Change for the Good. Change is only constant and nothing else can be constant. ==