I have spent years trying to untangle the unnecessary complexity of leadership theory. I have practiced this unencumbered leadership and found it to work not only well, but exceedingly well every time, everywhere. Yet when trying to document the tangled ball of string that is today’s leadership styles, and how to unravel it, I have become tied up in knots myself.
It never fails. I know a simple leadership practice and then explain how it differs from the leadership de jure and the quagmire appears under my feet and eventually it turns to quicksand. So here, for the four hundredth try, I will concentrate on what works and leave the current leadership theories to themselves. I’ll start with the smallest of questions.
What is Leadership? Leadership is about providing everything your employees need to be successful in the endeavors you have assigned them to perform. Period. There is nothing more. Your job as a leader is to fill your day with decisions that can be traced to a benefit for the employee’s successful production of work.
The only way to successfully accomplish this is to understand the needs and desires of the generations you have un
der your roof. Again, this is a slippery path that will lead to phrases such as “That’s a complex subject.” or “it’s more complicated as that.” Poppycock I say!!
In my experience, humans are quite a simple animal. Both their true desires and their basic needs are few and all the same. Cater to the promotion of these desire and needs, even in the smallest way, and you will have a workforce who can move mountains, and in doing so make you look like a leadership genius. Everything else is just playing to egos, and that’s where the tangling complexity of understanding human individuals begins and ends.
Get rid of the goop called ego and you’re left with this; Human’s wants and desires are simply to be happy, to feel appreciated, to suffer less, and to receive unsolicited affection. That’s the foundation for everything human. Their needs are equally simple. To feel safe from threats to their basic Maslovian survival needs. Everything else we perceive in humanity is just unhappy layers of stuff on top of these foundations.
There are many professions out there who spend their entire lives helping people with these piles of stuff, and to think that the regular run of the mill leader can know, understand, and respond to all these layers is foolhardy. But to observe workplace behaviors from the perspective of simple foundations is not a supper tall order at all.
The tall order is deciphering behavior far removed from the foundation and discovering which of the core needs or desires is feeling under threat. If you can get that revealed, then the understanding of the behavior an how to correctly respond to it becomes infinitely clearer.
There is only one tool that is powerful enough to let you see through all the layers of stuff lying over the modern human’s foundations. It is a skill called intuitive empathy. This skill answers the ageless question of “Are leaders born or are leaders made?” That answer is, yes to both. We are all born with the capacity for intuitive empathy, but many pockets of modern culture beat it to a bloody pulp in our ch
ildren and, as a result, adults have to go through a process of relearning and retuning to regain what was so heavily suppressed in our past.
Intuitive empathy is the crux of Authentic Natural Leadership. It is the skill set that has made all the worlds historically revered leaders who they were. In wielding it correctly, they led those under their care to enormous success in accomplishing feats that are only found in legends.
I recognize this suggestion of an inbuilt intuition that is empathetic to everything around them sounds fantastical. I also acknowledge that making that same intuition trustworthy enough to consult all the time seems like a bridge to far. Yet, I can assure you it isn’t fantastical or too big a stretch for anyone to obtain.
Just as the concept of intuitive empathy is unconventional and may initially feel way outside of the leadership training ballpark, our training will also be an unconventional journey which you will find encompassing your entire life. Why so broad? Because it is an innate ability inside of you that we’re resurrecting. It’s not a leadership technique one takes out and puts away. It’s an attribute you will carry at all times. You will come to cherish it because it enhances your entire perception of the world and how you react to it.
Strange as it sounds, gaining intuitive empathy is a birth rite so why not claim it. Or put another way; what do you have to lose in giving it a try? It’s easy, fun, enlightening, and empowering. If you get this skill turned on, you will know more about the moment you’re in than anyone else in the room. If you’re skeptical, I applaud you. But I urge you to give it an honest try and prove me right or prove me wrong before you discard it.