March 9, 2023 5 Min Read
A Leadership Mindset
There’s a saying: “You join a company, but quit your boss.” Can you relate to that? Something about the leader’s style just wasn’t right for you. It could be that they held a management position but did not have a leadership mindset.
It is helpful to quickly distinguish a manager from a leader since they are related but different. Management consists of controlling a set of resources (people, tools and processes) in order to accomplish a goal. Managers control processes and people that get work done. Management implies some organization structure of hierarchy. In contrast, leadership refers to a person’s ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute. You can lead from anywhere. Ideally a manager is also a leader – they are not exclusive roles. Stated in another way, managers have subordinates and create circles of power, while leaders have followers and create circles of influence.
What Is The Mindset Of A Leader?
A mindset is the lens through which a person views the world. A leader embraces challenges and is willing to problem-solve with a positive attitude. A leader displays acceptance of responsibility to solve the problem or take on an issue, followed by decisiveness which is seen as a bias for action. Solving the problem might require resourcefulness, the behavior of thinking creatively, and of leveraging any and all perspectives. They are willing to take risks and try new approaches and are not afraid to challenge the status quo.
A leader is humble. They know they don’t have all the answers and are willing to learn from others, and from their mistakes. It is important for a leader to be open and honest because they know that transparency builds trust which helps influence and motivate others. They influence others by displaying their purpose and passion and motivate others through a genuine interest and empathy. They have the ability to understand and relate to others, and to see things from their perspective. This allows leaders to build strong relationships with team members, understand their needs and motivations, and create a supportive and positive work environment.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
― John Maxwell
Start Your Leadership Mindset Journey With Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, values, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. In the context of leadership, self-awareness is crucial because it allows a leader to have a deep understanding of themselves, which, in turn, helps them to be more effective in leading others. Self-awareness allows leaders to identify their strengths and weaknesses., enabling them to capitalize on their strengths and work on their weaknesses, which ultimately improves their leadership skills.
When leaders are self-aware, they can communicate more effectively with their team members. They understand the impact of their words and actions on others and manage their emotions. Using empathy, they put themselves in their team members’ shoes and understand their perspectives. This helps leaders build stronger relationships with their team members, create a more positive work environment, and make better decisions.
Skills That Support The Mindset
A leadership mindset activates a set of behaviors in support of influencing and supporting others to follow. What skills do those behaviors depend upon? They are a mix of analytic and people skills. For example, one leadership skill is to take a long-term, big picture view of the business and apply the skills of a strategist to look for signals of change rather than making assumptions or waiting. Getting work done through others requires skills to match people to the work, and of delegating through clear expectation and goal setting.
Leadership can be a challenging and stressful role, and leaders with a leadership mindset need to be able to bounce back from setbacks and persevere through difficult times. They have a strong sense of self-belief, and are able to stay focused on their goals even in the face of adversity. Having a coach for support and guidance is an option, if you recognize that you have room for growth. Mentoring is also an option.
What If I’m New To Leadership?
Congratulations for making a significant career move! If you are moving from an individual contributor role to a leadership role, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself.
Make room for becoming a leader by letting go of those individual contributor habits that served you well but now need to be replaced. Change how you think and act like you are the doer of the work. Leading requires that you enroll others in performing the work and you manage the results. This is true even if you are taking on a “player-coach” role.
You will find yourself communicating a lot more in a variety of settings. From presenting your vision or accomplishments to stakeholder groups, to meeting one-on-one for expectation setting and performance reviews, a leader spends up to 80% of their time communicating.
People depend on you, and you’ll want to be in good mental and physical shape to withstand the pressure and the spotlight. It helps to build your self-awareness and emotional intelligence, and generally take of yourself. Your team and peers will be looking for you to set an example on things like work/life balance, self-regulation and the expectations you set for yourself.
A Final Thought
Overall, a leadership mindset is characterized by a strong sense of purpose, a commitment to personal growth and development, and a willingness to lead by example. The artfulness of leadership is apparent when you see survey data that says 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. Leadership behavior and skills are in short supply and your team values them. A TaskHuman coach can help you focus on the specific next steps to help you build them. Reach out and set up a 1:1 session to talk it over.
Here are some questions for you to consider in preparation:
- What do the most effective leaders in my organization observably do to demonstrate their leadership mindset?
- How do I build my communication skills?
- What is my 90-day plan for my new role as leader?
Interested in chatting with a TaskHuman leadership coach? Book a session today to get started.