The 2 Headed Dragon (part 2)

This is the second and final part of the 2 headed dragon series (if you have not yet read the first part I will encourage you to do so in order to have the full picture).  I stated that the first dragon head was uncertainty and today I will tackle the second one – complexity.

The 21st century leader operates in a complex world. The resources at the disposal of any leader is limited hence there is need for creativity in managing these limited resources. The challenges he faces can be daunting and frustrating as he struggles to grapple with the overwhelming information overload he has to process on a daily basis. A certain degree of these frustrations are, however, self-inflicted. This is because some leaders fight the complexity with complexity. They falsely believe that communicating using complex jargons and concepts validates their leadership position and makes them seem smarter. It does not! It just confuses the key stakeholders, such as their subordinates and clients.

The only effective weapon against complexity is simplicity. Leaders are hired to simplify the complex challenges their organisations and teams face and communicate this simplicity to their team so that they can execute the appropriate actions.

Every leader needs to strive for simplicity in the process of leading their teams and organisations. Your team members will respond better to simplicity than complexity especially with regards to your daily communication and long term vision casting. The more complex a leader makes his leadership vision or daily instruction, the more confused he makes his team. It is easy to make things complicated, but it takes skill and wisdom to make the complicated simple. The Jazz musician, Charlie Mingus, got it right when he said that “making the simple complicated is commonplace, making the complicated awesomely simple, that is creativity”.

Simplicity is the process of doing more with less. It requires ignoring the non- essentials in order to focus on the core issues of the organisation’s challenges – this requires leadership discipline. This enables the leader to make things compelling and clear, instead of confusing and complicated for all concerned. Simplicity is not easy, if it was, then every leader will practice it and not default to complexity.

3 replies on “The 2 Headed Dragon (part 2)”

A nice and short piece yet well explained. I can’t think of any other way that this message could be better expressed. The use of simplicity to tackle complexity is truly a skill and should be mastered by everyone, not only leaders. I would start putting it to practice and I’ll advise everyone else should do the same. thanks for share this message.

True stuff! I accept that there is need for simplicity. I believe it increases a leader’s accessibilty and makes (her) more valuable. If what I’m saying is mostly jargon to the people listening to me then I might as well be hypnotizing them! Doing more with less… ya, that’s not a bad idea at all. Precision is necessary for a leader, and I don’t see it coming out of complexity. All that so-called ‘wisdom’ is the root of many frustrations now because funny enough, people wrongly believe that being complex denotes intelligence. My goal, however, is to be intelligently simple, delivering substance that enriches lives I come in contact with. Building people doesn’t have to be a complex process.

[…] their organisations. For more information on the challenges of complexity, read my post titled “The Two-Headed Dragon”. I stated in that post that clarity is an antidote to complexity, but today and next week, I will […]

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