The Mindset That Sets Apart Great Leaders
Developing the right mindset will take your leadership skills to a higher level.
Throughout our professional careers, we will know many bosses and CEOs. What is far rarer, however, are leaders. Anyone who has worked on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder will know just how valuable and career changing a leader can be. They may appear to be few and far between, but in a job where the top echelons of the company not only manage and oversee, but lead their employees, then you will truly reap the benefits of this potentially life-changing quality.
When you have experienced the profound impact of a true leader, it is time to ask yourself how you can become this leader. A leader acts with intention and purpose to reach their intended goal and inspires everyone across and down their food chain to do the same. Leaders who do this exceptionally well understand that they need to systemize a process that can be followed for it to be successful at all levels of the corporate structure. This system needs to include access to relevant knowledge and resources, appropriate action steps that build upon each other and holding space for accountability the whole way. The fundamental ingredient to finding the leader within you is mindset. In recent years, “mindset,” and the coaching associations that come with it, have become somewhat kitschy. There’s a lot of vagueness surrounding these concepts, but approaching this personality change from a holistic, spiritual and wholly practical perspective with the help of a coach, will create truly life-changing shifts.
Personal versus corporate mindset
Bringing a mindset to your work that is beneficial for everyone requires you to dig deep into the things that are affecting your personal life. This means people in leadership positions often recruit the help of a coach. To put it simply, no one should expect to learn from a leader who is not being led. Mindset is not an endpoint but rather a journey, and people’s actions will often be dictated by generations of personal problems that will manifest in their work life, consequently affecting people at every level. We know that issues like divorce, family conflict and depression directly affect work performance, but if you can’t see the source of your problem, you can’t move past it, which is why a coach is so important. When emotional blockages are cleared, and the whole person is happy in every aspect of their life, they are more productive, innovative, and creative. In short, healing your personal mindset will bring out your best corporate mindset.
Something that is preventing thousands of leaders from realizing their potential is the wrong money mindset. We have become so programmed into believing that our last salary bracket dictates our worth. As difficult as it is to break free of this belief system, wage is purely just a number, and this number does not define your worth as a person or a professional. Believing that you are only as good as your salary is a sure-fire way to lead you down a path of self-sabotage whereby you will convince yourself that you’re not important enough to suggest innovative and game-changing ideas that will propel you to that next crucial stage in your business career.
This mindset is perpetuated by the intergenerational differences that exist among both our coworkers and our closest confidants. Case in point, Gen-Z is being told to shoot for the stars and claw their way into competitive roles that millennials and boomers could never have dreamed of earning so early in their careers because their mindset was not trained to do so. Maybe your boss is the type of leader who convinces you that you should be grateful to have a job, know your place, and not speak out of turn. But we live in a different world now, where mindset has become an important consideration in building corporations helmed by leaders who are change-makers who innovate growth rather than pander to the stagnant status quo.
Make yourself vulnerable
To be a leader that people want to follow, you must be as comfortable being a mentee as you are being a mentor. This often means letting go of your ego and allowing yourself to be seen to be vulnerable in front of your employees so that they know that you are inviting them into the decision-making process. This is far from the traditional top-down structure of yesteryears, indicative of the Industrial Revolution, as it’s an inverted pyramid structure, where the CEO sits at the bottom, thus empowering all levels of the infrastructure to take responsibility for their tasks, which in turn, builds a stronger structure that is advocacy driven towards the company’s mission.
Mindset has to happen at the CEO level to ensure that all voices are heard. It’s hard to be humble and go against the grain, but this is where you will find innovation and mindset shifts that change the game. Introducing yourself to perspectives that you’ve never entertained before will help you stretch yourself to be better. After all, all we really want is for our work environments to be a place where we can confidently share ideas and be seen, heard, and respected in return.
Fixed mindset versus growth mindset
If you are someone who has single-handedly tried to kickstart their own growth journey, you may have come up against your self-doubting voice telling you that certain traits like intelligence and talent are fixed – things people are born with. But the reality is that mindset is somewhere in between fixed and tradable. We are pre-programmed to an extent, but with training and skills, we can change so that when we are faced with a challenge, we are better suited to take it on rather than run from it. Approaching challenges with a growth mindset means seeing opportunities with excitement rather than the overwhelm you would experience in a fixed mindset. The only constant in business is change, and when it comes to moving up the ladder, it requires someone who can pivot and be flexible. A growth mindset requires you to get out of your own way so that the right decision is made rather than a decision based on limited exposure.
Becoming a leader is not an overnight process because it’s predicated on relevancy. To be consistently relevant, you have to always be evolving. Even people in the highest leadership positions need to go through a journey of continual growth, and these qualities cannot be performed superficially. Working with a coach is an important way to stay connected with your individual journey of growth. Moreover, leadership can exist at all levels, where you can be a leader to the people around you within any level of the company, as the CEO is a leader to the entire company. This is what world-class leaders have in common - the ability to keep moving, which filters throughout everything they do and everyone they come in contact with. Be that leader, and you’ll be undeniable.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor