Leadership, like organizations themselves, is complex. Having to consider the multiple questions that come one's way, those in leadership positions must deal with the complexity that is consistently all around them. This is not about working harder...this is not about working more hours...this is not about hiring more people...and it is certainly not about attempting to make the organization less complex. So what are leaders to do? How might they better deal with the complexity of leadership? Here are a few thoughts:
- slow down...if one does not take the time to breathe and think, how can they even see or understand the complexity that exists?
- read more...in the midst of complexity, those in leadership roles often feel as if they are the only ones dealing with these issues. Reading helps one to see beyond their own situation and might provide an answer to one of the many questions in front of the leader.
- simplify where you can...the truth is that complexity is throughout the organization. Where might one simplify and make the decision making process just a little easier (or at least less complicated)?
- listen to stories...in the midst of the complexity, a gentle reminder of why one does what they do can make the stress of complexity a little more bearable each day.
- hire really smart (and emotionally intelligent) people...by their very nature, those in leadership roles tend to take on themselves the entire complexity of the organization. Let others share in the burden of complexity - it makes life easier and better for everyone.
- take a break...one of the golden rules of leadership is to take a full day off once a week, three straight days off once a month, and two straight weeks off once a year. Getting away from the organization puts the complexity a little more in perspective and allows the leader to renew their strength to deal with the constant onslaught they face.
- lean into it...at the end of the day, the complexity of leadership is here to stay. Embrace it, enjoy it, and learn to manage it - because there is no way around it.
Life has always been complex...and people's resiliency has always learned to manage it. Dealing with complexity begins with accepting that it exists and then moving forward. Remember that if your organization was not complex, it might just be moving toward shutting down. What is the better alternative?