27 Jan 5 Leadership Mindsets you need to develop
Leadership Mindsets are critical to the success of any business or organization. It is not enough for a leader to possess the right knowledge, technical expertise and sufficient resources. He or she requires the right leadership mindset as well. And when that is lacking, and a leader finds that they are unable to make a difference in their domain, more training might not do the trick. Leadership coaching can be a better solution to the problem.
So, what is a leadership mindset? Usually, a leader’s energy and attention are focused on getting specific tasks done efficiently and attaining a specific set of results. However, as a leader, if you need to deliver impressive results consistently and tackle changes and uncertain situations with confidence, these are the things you should be deeply aware of – who you are, what you can do, where you are headed, and if you have the ability to modify your communications, behaviour and emotions to reach your destination. In other words, you not only have to understand your mindset, but you must build on the same to achieve better results in anything you do. So, what is the answer to this problem?
Here are 5 important leadership mindsets you need to work on:
1) Caring mindset
Do you remember the last time a supervisor, senior colleague, or manager addressed your concerns, needs and hopes, and established a personal connection? If you do, it must have surely made an impact on you. When a leader takes the time to show that they care, the effect can be significant and transformative. It helps them connect with their team in a better way, earn their trust and respect, and ensure higher productivity and greater results.
When leaders embrace and nurture a caring mindset, employees tend to take less leaves, experience less burnout, are more satisfied at work, and exhibit better teamwork. Since these metrics can be measured, many well-known brands like Zappos, PepsiCo and Southwest Airlines have come up with leadership principles that include caring.
Embrace the leadership mindset of caring – putting people before yourself as a leader
What you also need to know as a leader is that, control is the opposite of caring. In a specific environment, control defines the degree of perceived regulation. Such environments are usually composed of policies and procedures that are both conscious and unconscious. Hence, it is necessary to understand the different dynamics that are created by caring and control mindsets.
When a leader has a control mindset, they tend to be stressed and avoid emotions. Naturally, they are apprehensive of change and might want to resist it. Often, such a mindset translates to actions of emotional power-mongering or abuse. However, a caring mindset involves the modeling of positive behaviours that are value-based in nature. When a leader has a caring mindset, their brain releases positive neurotransmitters, which give them the ability to forge emotional bonds. This leads to open-mindedness and better engagement with the people you lead.
Are you wondering how to develop such a caring leadership mindset? You need to learn to detect moments that give you the opportunity to reveal your caring self. It can be quick and small, yet meaningful. For example, you can ask an employee how it is going if they look worried, or celebrate a joyous moment with someone who was just praised by a client, or order dinner for the team if they are working late on a complex project. However, remember that being honest about caring is what works. Caring just for the sake of it is not the right trait in a leader.
2) Abundance mindset
The leadership mindset of abundance will not only help you to create new possibilities, but you will also be in a position to motivate others in a similar way. On the contrary, those who have a scarcity mindset constantly worry about imperfection, failure, and lack of resources. And these negative feelings tend to trickle down to the team members too.
The leadership mindset of abundance enables you to spot possibilities and opportunities where others don’t see them
If you have an abundance mindset, you will be able to identify opportunities even when problems surround you. Hence, leadership coaching mindset helps leaders to spot the resources they have at their disposal, whether it is related to work or life, and shows leaders how such resources can enhance their existing capabilities dramatically. Also, one of the most effective ways in which you can develop an abundance mindset is by practicing gratitude, which means noticing the opportunities you have and being grateful for the same.
3) Challenging beliefs mindset
A leader needs to constantly scrutinize and challenge their beliefs, so that they can let go of those that are holding them back unnecessarily. Embracing new beliefs or tweaking old ones can help leaders act on important projects or urgent matters more wisely and efficiently. This is why, while conducting leadership coaching, we encourage leaders to examine their beliefs (regarding themselves and others) and the effect they have.
By asking open-ended questions, we push leaders to assess the validity of their beliefs in all situations. We help them identify the possibilities they might be ignoring because of their beliefs. This part of the coaching is challenging yet supportive in nature, and helps leaders to broaden their perspective and look at other ways of framing what they believe.
4) Collective mindset
There are times when a leader focuses only on the top performers and fail to see the team as a whole. Now, though it might be essential at times to highlight individual excellence and set an example, to help the entire team grow, a leader needs to have a collective mindset.
Such a mindset is based on result-sharing and mutual accountability. If you have such a mindset, you will be able to identify and appreciate the relation between parts and wholes, change and stability, creativity and rationality, instead of just focusing on the boundaries that segregate spaces, groups and ideas.
Leadership mindsets of fostering individual and collective growth are valuable
Hence, through leadership coaching, leaders learn how to accept and celebrate diversity. For starters, they find out that their way of working and getting results is not the only way out there. Otherwise, a biased way of thinking that what you do is the best can make you favour certain team members (who reflect your style of working) more than others. This can cause you to ignore the contribution others make.
Through leadership mindset training, a leader learns how to spot such biases and overcome them. This makes them more open to varied ideas and styles of working. Leaders are also taught how to create a common purpose and then align team members towards the same.
As a leader, if you harbour a collective mindset, you will be able to build smooth working relationships across different groups and ensure constant communication for the sake of motivation and trust. Note that if you tend to take all the credit for a work well done, it can prevent you from developing a collective mindset. So, try and be the role model for the rest of the team by sharing credit.
5) Growth mindset
When you are leading a 21st century business or any part of it, you should be prepared to learn all your life, even when you are not comfortable. It is essential for leaders to practice and exhibit a growth mindset, which others can follow. When you have this mindset, you basically believe that hard work and dedication can help improve your abilities and sharpen your leadership skills. This means, you are ready to put in the effort it takes to grow your potential and reap better results.
On the other hand, a fixed mindset will make you believe that your abilities are predefined and cannot be improved or changed. So, you might feel shy to take up challenges for fear of failure or embarrassment in front of others. And this fear of making mistakes or failing can prevent you from growing or embracing new experiences.
As a leader, you need a growth mindset, so that you can learn from failures, and welcome and experiment with new ideas. And this way, you can pass on the mindset and culture to your team too. While conducting leadership coaching, we teach leaders to identify the differences between situations where they work with a growth mindset and those where they work with a fixed mindset. And we help them understand the impact it has on the results, themselves and others. We show them how adopting a growth mindset can give them better results, so that they become more aware of the benefits and turn out to be role models for team members.
So, how do we inspire leaders to change their mindsets?
Since being in a leadership role is a privilege and a matter of prestige, leaders have a responsibility towards the organisation as well as their team members. And they can fulfil the same by regularly upgrading their mindsets. However, changing the leadership mindset is essentially about seeing the world in a whole new way, rather than incorporating random tips and tricks. That’s where our leadership coaching makes an inside-out difference to leaders.
Kavyata helps leaders to improve and change both their inner and outer leadership mindsets and behaviours, through leadership coaching. We make mindset change not only impactful, but also satisfying, by encouraging leaders to examine their purpose and intentions, expand their self-awareness, and create a safe space to experiment with new behaviours and mindsets.
Kavita, an alumna of IIM Ahmedabad, brings 20 years of experience in Experiential Learning, Coaching, Personal Growth & Change. Her forte is Career Transition Coaching and Leadership Development for mid-senior individuals, helping them find success and fulfilment at work . She also teaches Career & Self Development courses at leading management institutes including IIM Kozhikode, IIM Udaipur, IIM Indore and at the IITs.