Leadership and Mindset

Does a leader need a special mindset to lead?

Gap International consulting firm conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500 global executives to get a sense of a leader's mindset. These interviews revealed that leaders accomplished great things when they envisioned a larger sense of purpose they contribute to. They become more energized and could better motivate followers to keep pushing for results.
Leadership, unlike management, cannot be reduced to a set of skills although many contemporary authors are just doing that (see Labeled leadership). But, while styles of a leader may vary, successful leaders share very similar mindsets. A personality radiating a proper mindset is then a defining factor for an exceptional leadership. Lacking it the leader’s chances of being effective aren't very good. Without a proper mindset a leader could be as well seen as powerful dictator but hardly a well-regarded or accepted person in charge.

The next issue in mindset research is represented by work of Warren Bennis who interviewed great leaders and found out that they all agreed in that leaders are made, not born. But they are made more by themselves than by any external means. This shows that mindset has to be properly attuned.

A mindset shift, when one is promoted from expert position to the leading one, requires to break away from old behaviors and habits that may no longer serve effectively in leadership. The move to a new paradigm must be made: ‘It is not about me. It is we & you.’ There is no room for ‘I said so’ or ‘Your way is wrong’, ‘You are the problem, not me’, ‘I don’t think you can handle the work’ and/or ‘I don’t trust you.’

By taking a new role a period of substantial learning has been entered. Leader’s job is to cultivate a sense of support and engagement in the workplace so that others (may) thrive. It is about learning to change oneself from unproductive behaviors, the time to forget our own ego and becoming an active listener. A broaden communication style. To say what one means to say, to be clear in articulating either written or oral thoughts. Influence with the head, heart and work. Provide feedback. Be committed. Feel free to share and pass along to the followers and other leaders. Lastly, a leader needs to have a ‘can do’ attitude/mindset to lead the followers.

All of this means that a leadership role requires a positive mindset. A positive mindset attitude fuels endurance and performance where a leader sees opportunities every day in all events and makes the most of those that cross his path.

But changing a mindset requires looking deeply into the manner in which you, as a leader, engage people, approach situations, make decisions and evaluate opportunities. However, all that should begin within you yourself. And once you understand yourself you can and are able to understand the followers. In that, an appropriate mindset definitively plays a crucial role.


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