Brutal Simplicity and the Secret Formula to Leadership

When it comes to leadership, I’m no fan of Seth Godin. Although he’s a marketing genius, he recently phoned in this awful blog post.

Leaders lead.

Is that too simple?

Writers write. If you want to be a writer, write. And be sure to have people read what you write.

And leaders? Leaders lead.

If you want to be a leader, go lead.

Thank god this observation was free. I would have gone through the roof if I had read that in one of his books or paid money to hear him say that. Can you imagine someone saying,

  • If you want to be an airline pilot, go fly.
  • If you want to be a surgeon, go cut.
  • If you want to be a cook, get in the kitchen and make me a pie.

Doesn’t quite work that way.

While there is no secret formula for leadership, there are recommended behaviors and best practices.

And practice makes perfect.

If you want to be a leader, here are five things you can do – straightaway – to make an impact on your organization and on the world.

  1. Have ideas. Full stop.
  2. Solve problems. If you don’t have the skills, invest money and time in people who do.
  3. Take risks. Be the model of brave and bold behavior.
  4. Openly address fear and failure. You demonstrate strength when you talk about all potential outcomes.
  5. Kindness kills competition. Good leaders know that the key differentiator between a successful business and a failed business is character. Plenty of assholes make money; however, men and women who infuse capitalism with humanism build legacies.

And if you’re a leader who isn’t concerned about leaving a meaningful and important legacy behind, then you’re no leader at all.

Now if you want to be a better leader, go lead.