What’s Mindset Got to Do with It?

Many of today’s best-selling authors, coaches and leaders such as Carol S. Dweck, Brendon Burchard and Tony Robbins have shared their thoughts about the importance of having the right mindset.

So, what is mindset exactly?

Google states that it is “the established set of attitudes held by someone,” while Webster defines it as “a mental attitude or inclination, or a fixed state of mind.”

One can have a mindset about anything from vacations to vaccinations, and from career paths to politics. On a deeper level, we can also have a mindset about introspective topics like; whether you consider yourself a victor or a victim, whether your glass is “half-empty or half-full,” or if you have a tendency toward a scarcity or an abundance mentality.

Ok, you get it, right? We each have mindsets. They can help move us forward, as Carol S. Dweck suggests as she describes growth mindset in her book “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success.”  And just as surely, mindsets can hold us back – these are referred to as Fixed Mindsets. We have always been, and are continuing (as we breathe) to be influenced by what we hear, think and experience on both conscious and sub-conscious levels.

Some of the input that shaped us may have resulted in thoughts and biases that are inaccurate, exclusive, discriminatory, and/or obsolete. In other words, mindsets that no longer serve us in a meaningful way. If that’s what’s going on with us as individuals, what role does mindset play relative to Leadership?

I think Henry Ford summed it up when he said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right!” In a world filled with constant competition for time, money and resources, believing is the first step and often the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Your role as the Big Kahuna.

In working with leaders, one of the most frequently requested topics they want to discuss with me is how challenging the role of a leader can be. People who know me know that I have a reputation of being a straight shooter with my clients. Clients know that they can expect to hear the good, the bad and the ugly from me, all shared in the spirit of personal growth and development for the client.

So, I have to be honest and say… yes, the role of a leader is challenging. However, whether someone attaches a good label or a bad label on that depends on them. You might have heard one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

For example, have you seen someone (or maybe it was even you) step into a situation that others perceived as hopeless … that there was no chance of a good outcome? Have you also seen some of those same situations turn out to be successful? In my line of work, we call that a turn-a-round experience.

In fact, these opportunities are often used as developmental assignments for leaders. Those who are able to assess the situation, create strategies, assemble the right knowledge, skills and abilities on their teams and demonstrate what good looks like in leadership are able to make lemonade out of lemons.

The successful turnaround is forever noted as a bright spot on their resume instead of others who weren’t willing to take the chance.  The difference began with a mindset of “I can do this” instead of “It can’t be done.”

When it comes to an idea, a project or a challenge; the first step is for the Leader to have a vision.  Then he/she must be able to articulate its merits to the team and/or the organization. Having a vision and getting buy-in are essential, but that’s just the beginning…

When the winds of resistance blow and they surely will, it will be the leader’s belief (mindset), communication and support that enables the team to keep going – even if/when they lose faith and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Leadership Mindset has been described as how we see ourselves in our professional roles, and the stories we tell others about who we are.

Got your notepad and pen ready? Take a few minutes to reflect on and answer the following questions.

5 Questions to help you assess/improve your Leadership Mindset:

  1. How would you describe your Leadership Mindset?
  2. What is “the established set of attitudes” that you hold about Leadership? (think real life, those who did it well, those who didn’t)
  3. What are your beliefs about leadership that may no longer be accurate or appropriate? Are they still serving you?
  4. What impact has your Leadership Mindset had on your career? On your success?
  5. What is one thought, idea or action that you would like to change relative to your leadership mindset?

Because great minds think alike, let’s talk together about improving your mindset. Feel free to comment or reach out to me directly at success@jmclark.com and together, we can build a stronger and healthier mindset for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.


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