One of the most challenging aspects of technical leadership, or any leadership for that matter, is managing complexity. People, plans, markets, and software systems, just to name a few, are all wildly complex things. Finding ways to separate the signal from the noise, set reasonable expectations, and observe results can be daunting.
We’re admonished to “keep it simple, stupid,” and given heaps of tools that promise to reduce any complexity to its essential, manageable bits. Tracking systems, dashboards, dependency maps, OKRs, and box-and-whisker plots abound.
Yet history has taught us that seeking simplicity, while often well-intentioned, can be disastrous. To be the nimble and effective leader who can manage through complexity with ease, you’ll need to do one thing that many leaders never learn to do: let go.