UnknownI”ve come to the conclusion that the greatest example we have today of Complexification, Over-thinking and paralysis by analysis is what we’ve done with the whole field of leadership.

Research has shown in the past that leadership is a hygiene factor, meaning that it is not a motivator but it is a de-motivator if it’s absent.

Recent research I’ve done has borne this out in a survey of what employees like and don’t like. About 30% of my 500 respondents say that management is the thing they like least about work but only 1% say it is what they like most.

So if leadership is not all that critical to success, why are we spending so much time focusing on it. Perhaps we should do as IBM did in its heyday. They spent a lot on training new managers, not so they would be great but just so they wouldn’t piss off all of the talented people they had working for them.

Our paralysis by analysis has also made leadership such a complex subject that everyone is left feeling inadequate by the sheer volume of behavioural characteristics that go to make a ‘good’ leader.

If good leadership is a function of behaviour then how can two very dissimilar people with completely divergent behaviours both be good leaders? And how could anyone then call Steve Jobs a great leader given his irascible nature?

Research I’m doing is showing instead that leadership is 80% process and 20% behaviour or inspiration. It appears that great leaders all share a similar process for dealing with followers even if they don’t share behavioural characteristics.

If I’m right then it would be easy to implement good leadership processes and get 80% of the way to being a good leader.

Instead of the paralysis by analysis within which we’re stuck, perhaps we can break out and deal with leadership process instead of debating whether good leadership is a function of nature or nurture. Perhaps instead of training people to adopt new behaviours, maybe we can train them to follow a new process.

Which do you think is easier?