Mindset is extremely important when it comes to great leadership.
Mindset is the set of beliefs or way of thinking that determines your behavior, outlook and mental attitude. If your mindset is negative, your attitude (and likely your behavior) is negative.
Mindset is everything, and learning to control it is a key to fulfilling your potential.
Here are some of the damaging mindsets I have seen in leaders. Don’t let them stand in your way:
1. Seeing the glass as half empty. Many leaders are guilty of this mindset. Some think that if they point out the bad, that will get people to improve—but we know a negative attitude will never lead to positive results. Nothing will slow your progress like a negative mindset.
2. Thinking you know people better than you do. There is a danger in labeling people and putting them into a box when you haven’t had a chance to take in their complexity. How can you truly get to know people if your mindset has already told you who they are? Give people a chance to reveal, and sometimes surprise you with, who they are really are.
3. Believing that perfect is a goal. Perfection doesn’t exist and perfect can never be a goal. When you aim to be perfect, you’re setting yourself up for failure—either by paralyzing yourself into inaction or by endlessly trying to reach an unreachable goal. Set perfectionism aside and focus on excellence.
4. Thinking that you never need to rest. I know leaders who take pride in being constantly on. But we all need some time off, opportunities to shut down for a while. It is impossible to keep going 24/7 and still be the best you can be. You may think you can do everything and be everywhere, but really you can’t. Get some rest.
5. Assuming that you accomplished great things alone. Anytime you think you’ve achieved something by yourself, you’re failing to give someone else the credit they deserve. There is no success on a team without the efforts of others, and when you as the leader take all the credit, it costs you respect. Make your language always US and WE, not ME and I.
6. Not staying present in the moment. If you’re always thinking of where you need to be next instead of staying in the moment, you lose out on precious time and valuable lessons. A constant forward push isn’t sustainable in the long term. It burns people out and will lead to low morale and low energy. Give everyone a chance to slow down and experience what’s happening now.
7. Expecting others to do what you’re unwilling to do. How many of us have encountered leaders with a mindset of entitlement—that things need to be about what others can do for them rather than how they can serve others? Entitlement is a dangerous mindset, one that disempowers and alienates people. If you want great people to stick around to serve you, you need to serve them.
8. Becoming so obsessed with details that you lose the big picture. There are always details that need legitimate attention. But great leaders know that to get bogged down in all the details and minutia is a waste of time, energy and productivity. Getting stuck in the details will cost you big-picture success.
9. Isolating yourself from others. Some leaders actually believe that leadership means immersing yourself in process and procedures instead of being among people. The mindset that a leader can’t let others too close is one of the most dangerous I have observed. Leadership is all about engagement and empowering others, and you simply cannot do it in isolation. Leaders need people and people need leaders.
10. Having different sets of rules. The mindset that you can have one set of rules for yourself and another set for everyone else is disturbing and goes against the principles of service and recognition that leadership should be based on. It leads to disdain and disrespect.
11. Holding an all-or-nothing orientation. Failing to recognize nuance and shades of gray leads to bias and distorted thinking. We need leaders who are flexible and agile, unafraid of what might go wrong and positive about what could go right. All or nothing is a dangerous and damaging proposition.
12. Believing that you have to do everything yourself. You probably became a leader because you’re really good at what you do, but the truth is you never have to do everything alone. Great leaders delegate—which not only helps them but involves other people. If you want things done your own way, teach others how it’s done, but bring them in.
Lead From Within: You are only going to be as good as you think you are. To create something exceptional, keep your mindset focused on greatness.
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.
01. Nov, 2016
Hi Lolly, each of your columns has become a regular joy for me.
01. Nov, 2016
Your columns are very inspirational!!. keep up the good work
02. Nov, 2016
Lolly, excellent observations. I know isolating ourselves can be extremely dangerous. We lose out on feedback, friendship, and more!
02. Nov, 2016
Hi Lolly, This post in particular offers so many important points for improvements. One should always be positive and show compassion towards one’s subordinates, and colleagues. Thanks for sharing.
12. Nov, 2016
I was guilty of forgetting to praise my people. We were all overworked beyond belief because we had half a crew, and I was obvious a very hands-on leader who worked just as hard as every member of my team. I thought that was enough, because had I been employee it would have been. Nope. You’ve gotta remember to take a minute every now and then. That’s all it takes. My right-hand man hated me and I had no idea. I’m glad I fixed that before it was too late. He doesn’t know I’ve plugged him into two of my novels.
13. Nov, 2016
Great post Lolly! As you point out, mindset determines behavior. So if we want to work on our behavior, the place to start is to examine our mindset.