It was a meeting with the customers. The feeling was good, conversation was flowing and there was a seamless understanding about how things should continue and what kind of things should be worked on in the future. Afterwards everybody was in a relaxed mood and happy about the outcome of the day.
"Use the word complex, not complicated". I heard behind me the voice of my superior at that time. He turned and went away.
I was full of question marks. We had been discussing for some hours and this is the thing he wanted to say to me. It was definitely confusing and I didn´t really know whether to laugh or cry. But I´ve been thinking about this a lot after that and especially from the leadership perspective.
I believe in simple things. In leadership this means that everything starts from respect. You are leading persons and working with individuals. These people are all human beings who are valuable as such. They are all people who have very different backgrounds and very different lives. A human being should always be respected as a person. That´s it.
In work life persons work with certain tasks that have been allocated to them. The need for feedback and constructive discussions are normal and they can be a great chance for showing appreciation and create improvement. But anyway these should always happen with respect towards the other person.
I´ve had excellent bosses during my career. Great leaders form the atmosphere of safety around them. You can sense the respect and support. You just feel that you are valued and that makes you aim for better and better results. Why is this so hard sometimes for the leaders?
In my own leadership positions I´ve always tried to aim for the sense of respect and support around me. Not easy. Life isn´t always easy; some days are hard and some are even harder. However, the leader has the responsibility to make sure that everybody can feel good and respected at work at all times. In this sense it means that leadership position is a service position.
If you lead people with respect, support and empathy, and you listen to them, you create trust. On a good day that doesn´t show, but on a bad day when everything goes wrong, people that have been trusted make miracles.
I´m not a native English speaker and I´m not totally sure what is the difference between the words complex and complicated. But somehow I don´t think it´s very important. I´ll still use the word complicated, but I´ll use it in a complex way. It´s as simple as that.