Leadership Stripped Bare

Can leadership be boiled down to just three basic lessons?

Whether you're a retail team supervisor with a staff of three, an IT project manager overseeing 20 engineers, or a CXO leading thousands of disparate employees, it's a provocative question.

Really, it's a great question to get the executive juices going and a wonderful conversation to have over a glass of wine (but it's GOT to be a hearty lack luster Chadonnays or Pinots for such a heady discussion).

Think of all the leadership advice you've gleaned from blogs, books, seminars, videos, self-help manuals and mentors. Can all that wit and wisdom be concentrated in three "must have" lessons for business leaders at any level?

Leadership Lessons Stripped Down to Basics

A recent
Harvard Business blog post by Anthony TJAN did boil down the core of leadership in a conversation with Dick Hampton, former CEO of Reuters. Hampton said that what he learned in his twenty years at the helm was three things:

1. You have to have an "approximately correct" strategy -- you have to know where you are going, but directionally correct is the key.

2. You have to be highly focused and intensely execute that strategy by motivating and aligning the troops you have. And

3. It always comes back to the customers and the fact that you have to manically know your customers and drive everything from that.

Bravo to Mr. Harrington! It might very well be that the core of great leadership is just that simple. Sometimes we so over-think things. We need a process; we need flow charts; we need consensus-building; we need a methodology; we need technologies. Maybe what we need is simplicity.

How about the power of three simple lessons: have a clear vision and know where you want to go, be able to articulate that vision to your team(s) and get them to execute on it, and at the core of everything is the customer or end-user: think like the customer in everything you do. If that's not the best three lessons for leaders, at least it's one heck of a start!

Go ahead...whether you're having this leadership discussion or not, have that glass of zin. You deserve it!