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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Mar 8th, 2023 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

The Most Important Insight Into Leadership

Recently I have started (another) deep dive into the broader subject of “leadership.” After writing and publishing Disrupt Disruption – How to Decode the Future, Disrupt Your Industry, and Transform Your Business (which has a chapter on the topic), I became curious about the broader implications of leadership on… well… everything.

Even more so than the term “disruption,” leadership has truly become tofu: It tastes like nothing until you put sauce on it – by which point it tastes like sauce. Meanwhile, it’s everywhere. Just search for the term on Amazon, and you get inundated with books, ranging from “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” (really – irrefutable?) to “Managing Narcissists” (sounds like a fun thing to do) and a book called “Leadership Not By The Book” (why write a book then?). Not saying that each and every of these books has something to teach you…

It strikes me that we seem to be obsessed with cracking “the leadership code.” The latest (dare I say “fad”?) in the arena is “High-Performance Leadership.” You know something is hot when it has its own acronym: HPL!

The critical elements of this revolutionary approach are:

  1. Setting a clear vision and direction
  2. Building a high-performance team
  3. Developing a culture of accountability
  4. Encouraging innovation and risk-taking
  5. Fostering continuous learning and development
  6. Communicating effectively
  7. Leading by example

If that list makes you go “duh,” you are not alone. And herein lies the problem with most (if not all) leadership advice I see around: It’s all fancy ways of making you treat your fellow humans as, well, humans. Add to that the revolutionary insights that you are dealing with adult humans (at least in the workplace), and you are off to a good start, a solid middle, and an excellent finish.

Google spent years, and lord knows how much money on Project Oxygen - its effort to determine what makes high-performing teams tick. The number one reason why some teams outperform others: Psychological Safety.

Sounds incredible, sophisticated, and intelligent, right? Pause for one hot second and consider what psychological safety actually means. It means you don’t get your head ripped off for saying something you think is right and important. You know, the behavior we would expect from normal, adult humans with an ounce of social skills and empathy.

And this is just one example…

Next time you wonder how you will become the best leader you can be – simply focus on being a good human, treating others with the love and respect they deserve as fellow humans. You’ll be fine. Actually – you will be awesome.

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