A SIMPLE formula for Successful Leadership

Successful leadership demands certain qualities in the leader. While one can certainly think of several such qualities, here’s a simple formula to keep in mind when developing effective leaders.

The SIMPLE formula is an acronym—each letter symbolizes a vital quality. SIMPLE stands for self-awareness, influence, motivation, practicing what is preached, leveraging the strength one has, and empowering those working with you. This formula is explained below.

SSelf-Awareness. A leader has to fully understand himself, his capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. According to management consultant Bob Woodcock: "Self-awareness is the foundation for achieving higher levels of performance." It is important to know both your strengths and weaknesses — the latter more importantly, since this makes you know your limitations within which you can exercise your power as a leader.

I- Influence. In the words of leadership expert John Maxwell: "Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less." How you are able to influence others’ actions — particularly your subordinates — tells a lot about your abilities to lead. The greatest influence emerges when a leader establishes his credibility, with others. So, to earn people's respect and trust, leaders need to moderate their character, competence and influence.

M- Motivation. Every one needs to be driven, driven to do something, to achieve something, to excel in his or her job. So motivation will play a significant role. How you are able to motivate your staff, through your own actions and examples, is an important component to achieve leadership success. After all, any action to move in the right direction needs a kind of push, which is the motivating factor. Constant engagement with employees through a person-to-person conversation can achieve great results.

P- Practice what you preach. However eloquently a leader talks, there is no substitute for action. Leaders are mainly judged by their actions and not by words. A leader should set examples by following what he preaches, which will inspire confidence in his followers. The leader should be a role model for those who work with him.

L - Leveraging your strength. Take stock of your strengths. Think about the specific actions you’ve taken to achieve great results in the past. Draw upon these experiences to guide you in future.

E - Empowerment. While employees should be engaged meaningfully, their empowerment is also equally important. What does empowerment mean? Employees need power. Put power in their hands — the power to think, decide, and commit mistakes and learn from them. Learning from mistakes is indeed a great learning process.

The above SIMPLE formula, if adhered to constantly, can help be used by learning and training leaders to transform high potential employees into effective leaders.