Ever known someone who thought they were leading, but no one was following? Sad isn’t it? The reason people are sometimes deluded about their ability to lead is that they have neglected one of the core elements of leadership. It’s sad to watch people flounder in a leadership role because, in reality, leadership is simple.
Simple does not mean “easy”; it means “less complex.” Leadership, good leadership, although not easy, is simple. In its simplest form, it is the employment of three core skills:
- Casting Vision
- Executing Strategy
- Fostering Relationships.
When someone in a leadership role performs these three skills, he/she is indeed a leader. When someone in a leadership role neglects one or more of these skills, he/she is NOT a leader. Leadership is simple, but it is also irreducibly complex.
Irreducible complexity is a term coined by American biochemist, Michael J. Behe. He defines it this way:
A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. (Darwin’s Black Box p39 in the 2006 edition)
Leadership is simple, but irreducibly complex. Don’t believe me? Try this exercise for a moment: consider the most effective leader you’ve ever known. Did that person effectively make you want to strive for something more (cast vision)? Did that person make you and the others he/she led feel valued (foster relationships)? Did that person have a knack for getting the right things done (execute strategy)? I’m willing to bet that you answered “yes” to all three questions.