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Simple leadership

At work we all have been allocated with certain tasks. The need for feedback is normal and and constructive discussions should always happen in a setting of mutual respect. This should be clear for every leader, writes Heini Noronen-Juhola.


Heini Noronen-Juhola

Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 24.11.2021

It was a meeting with customers. The feeling was good and the conversation was flowing. There was a seamless understanding about how things should continue and what kind of things should be worked on in the future. At the end everybody was in a relaxed mood and happy about the outcome.

“Use the word complex, not complicated”, I heard and behind the voice was my superior at that time. He turned and went away.

I was very confused. We had been discussing in the meeting for some hours and this is the thing he chose to say to me. It was definitely a strange reaction and left me with more questions than answers. Reflecting upon this afterwards, I have come to look at it from a leadership perspective.

Good leadership creates trust and respect

I believe in simple things. In leadership this means that everything starts from respect. You are leading people and working with individuals. Each one a human being valuable as such and with very different backgrounds and very different lives. Everyone should always be respected as a person. Simple.

At work we all have been allocated with certain tasks. The need for feedback and constructive discussions is normal and offer a great chance for showing appreciation and enhancing improvement. This should always happen in a setting of mutual respect.

To lead, is to serve

I have had excellent bosses during my career. Great leaders create an atmosphere of safety around them. An atmosphere where one can sense the respect and support. One just feels valued and keeps aiming for even better results. On a good day the trust may not be seen, but on a bad day when things go wrong, people that feel trusted make miracles. Why is this concept of leadership sometimes so hard to grasp?

In my own leadership positions I have always tried to aim for the sense of respect and support around me. Not always easy. However, a leader has the responsibility to make sure that everyone can feel good and respected at work at all times. In this sense, one can say that a leadership position is a position of service.

I am not a native English speaker and not totally sure of the difference between the words complex and complicated. But somehow I do not think it should be very important. In the future, I will still use the word complicated, but in a complex way. It is as simple as that.