Organisations worldwide spend billions towards leadership development efforts, yet majority of the organisations are not satisfied with the effectiveness of L&D programs. As per the Harvard Business Review’s research most leadership development efforts overlook a specific attribute that is foundational to how leaders think, learn, and behave: their mindsets. In this article, an attempt has been made to list down the essentials to develop a leadership mindset for every professional.
Mindsets drive what leaders do and why. If you pose a challenging situation to two leaders, you will notice that they will process and respond to it very differently. One may see it as a threat that hinders their influence while another will see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
When leadership development efforts ignore mindsets, they ignore how leaders see, how each interpret problems and how each anticipate opportunities.
Therefore, the right way of thinking is essential to keep leading with a leadership mindset. The right attitude allows us to accept and process diverse information from distinct situations. How people react to the information they receive, and the circumstances they face, depend entirely on their thinking.
Similarly, the concept of applying a leadership mindset in the workplace has many advantages.
What is a Leadership Mindset?
Leadership is challenging because there are so many things you can be responsible for and it’s hard to stay focused on the big picture. That’s where mindsets come into play since they help us stay level-headed while working toward a goal.
Jim Taylor of Psychology Today explains the idea of leadership as the attitudes, beliefs, and expectations that underlie who you are, how you lead, and how you interact with your team.
At its core, leadership mindset is defined by how we see ourselves in our professional roles and the stories we tell others about who we are. It is one of the most important, least understood, and most neglected elements in the evolution of a leader.
Mindset is a one of the important source of personal motivation. It provides leaders with purpose and meaning in their work, directs how they invest their time and energy, and influences their career choices. In essence, mindset defines who we are and what we do in our various roles.
Therefore, developing a leadership mindset is essential to everything you do at work. If you want to be a leader, regardless of your current role or work experience, you must first develop a leadership mindset. From your decisions to actions and from opinions to everyone around you, your thinking affects everything. Your thinking influences how you reach your goals, the overall success of your performance, and your professional relationships.
An apt example of the power of organizational mindset and culture is Microsoft. When Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, he had one goal to accomplish: Revamp the culture at Microsoft. He says it best in his book Hit Refresh that mindsets are what lead to better performance in organizations and that this is even more true for large corporations where things can be highly competitive.
Today’s business environment is characterized by rapidly changing strategies, business-model innovation, and operational transformation. Leaders trapped in yesterday’s mindset often struggle to find their place and voice in this new business world. To navigate through this fast paced transitions and stay ahead in the game leaders must be willing to engineer a new mindset that embraces new opportunities, learning, experiences, challenges and business relationships
Read on to discover the 5 essentials to develop a leadership mindset.
Develop a Strategic Mindset
Strategic Mindset in a leader is essential to every organization, regardless of size or area of focus. It entails the ability to solve complex problems by foreseeing opportunities and challenges, leveraging critical thinking, arriving at creative ways to address them and making informed decisions thereon.
It is important for an aspiring leader to make strategic thinking as their second nature and one can do this by self-learning, staying curious, asking pertinent questions on a daily basis. Likewise, you can opt in for professional programs that helps you to think, decide and act strategically.
Develop a Growth Mindset
Growth mindset helps leaders think big and reach beyond their comfort zone. A growth mindset is a belief that people, including oneself, can change their talents, abilities, and intelligence. It is all about being practically optimistic. It is when you are open to embracing new experiences, learning from failures, looking for creative solution to a problem and being open to feedback to work on your improvement areas.
No one can climb the leadership ladder with a restrictive and fixed mindset. Migrating leaders need to strengthen their growth mindset and be aware of self-limiting thoughts or peer groups which pull them back into fixed mindsets and behaviours.
A growth mindset is what can be a gamechanger in your pursuit to leadership. It simply starts with the simple belief that you can get better at anything—and everything—you do. It’s a mindset that expands the individuals and organisation’s business horizons by creating unique value for each.
With a learning mindset, you’re hard-wired to develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to achieve success. It is a mindset that encourages you to get better each day either by learning new things be it from colleagues, your experiences or building new skills and competencies. It is about staying self-aware that the more you learn you will thrive and will be better equipped to perform at a higher level with relevant knowledge and skills. Not forgetting to create a culture in and around him that encourages and recognizes learning.
Leaders with a performance mindset are focused on high performance to achieve their goals. It is about identifying a specific purpose, goal, or destination and prioritizing making progress towards it. A thriving mindset is about demonstrating higher levels of task performance and innovative behaviors to achieve outcomes. What is crucial is as a leader you need to seek the best out of your team members, colleagues to achieve desirable outcome and ensure that in the process they also learn and grow.
People Centric Mindset
Is being self-aware that you are as good as your team. It is about reinforcing the human side of leadership. People want to look upto their leaders, they want to be inspired and hence it is important to set the right tone and inspire as a leader.
A People centric mindset is about treating everyone with respect and compassion. Taking them on board and working together towards a common purpose. Empowering them with resources, know-how, tools and direction in a way that leads to business success through better efficiency and productivity.
It is a triad of positive energy, compassion and respect. If demonstrated towards your work and your team, you will see it working like a flywheel to achieve your goals.
Mindsets are like keys that unlock the doors to success. Without them, it’s nearly impossible to unlock new doors and open up new opportunities. In fact, it’s simply not possible.
The time is ripe for a change. We need to begin looking at our organization from a broader perspective than we have in the past. Our business success will continue to depend on how we prioritize, how hard we are willing to work, and how we think about problems and opportunities. As we encourage leadership mind-set shift it will propel organizations and leaders to stay more innovative, competitive and effective.