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The Physics of Leadership

        posted by , September 09, 2013

What are the physics of the leadership universe?

Newton William Blake Dark

What are forces that shape a leader?

What are the leadership equivalents of space, time, motion, matter, energy and gravity?

If you look at the art of leadership as a science — it's possible to define 7 fundamental dimensions of the leadership universe:

1. Why

A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.
~ Albert Einstein
Just as the universe has a beginning (The Big Bang), leadership has a beginning. Leadership begins with the question — why?

If your a cog in an industrial machine. If your a cog in an information machine. The question that begins your transformation from cog to leader is to ask — why?

The question that transforms you from being a mediocre leader to a great leader is also — why?

Leaders set direction. Before a team team sets off in a direction it's important to validate goals. When your aims are confused, efficient implementation is counterproductive.

2. Innovation

Innovation is the application of creativity to produce something useful. It's a mysterious and elusive force that acts as the glue of the leadership universe.

Innovation can't be taught.

Highly intelligent, diligent leaders may seek innovation for decades without much success. At the same time, moderately intelligent people occasionally stumble on great innovations without much effort at all.

Innovation comes when the mind is at play. It comes when the mind is willing to bend the rules. It comes suddenly after years of pondering a problem.

Innovation is the basis of all productivity.

3. Decision Making

Decision making requires broad knowledge and maturity of judgment. A typical decision might require knowledge of business, technology, law, ethics, philosophy and human nature. Decisions can be tough and they often need to be made quickly.

Good decisions build businesses and improve people.

Bad decisions have real impacts. They can ruin businesses and hurt people.

It's little wonder that most people avoid leadership simply to avoid responsibility for decisions.

4. Influence

Great ideas are common. What makes you an effective leader is the ability to sell your ideas.

Influence is a social skill that requires knowledge of marketing, social psychology and politics. It depends on skills such as public speaking and interpersonal skills. It depends on intangible character traits such as wit and optimism.

5. Motivation

Motivation goes beyond selling an idea. It's about getting people to do what's required to make an idea happen.

Like influence, it's a social skill.

6. Providing Certainty

Followers crave certainty. Leaders crave certainty. People in general crave certainty.

Certainty is a basic human need. It's the reason that humans evolved into teams with leaders.

A group of people who are struck with doubt don't get much done. When a leader comes along and provides certainty — productivity improves.

Intelligent leaders are rarely certain about anything. They realize that decisions are too complex for exact answers.

Nevertheless, a leader realizes that the group craves certainty. They hide the complexity of decisions from the group. An effective leader gives the group exactly what they want — a clear, consistent direction.

7. Ethics

It would be hardly a good idea to run around innovating, influencing, motivating and providing certainty without guiding ethics.

A leaders ethic's are key to whether she provides value to society or is fundamentally destructive. The wrong thing done right is the dark side of the leadership universe.

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