The key to all successful leadership is mindset management. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nothing will change unless you change your mindset. You can invest in executive coaching programs or other leadership development tools, but nothing will change until you have the right mindset.
That’s why, as a leader, you not only have to develop your own leadership mindset but also the mindsets on your team. By understanding types of mindsets along with mindset management skills, you’ll be equipped to adjust your own mindset and the mindsets of those around you.
Types of Mindsets
When studying mindset management, I have to call out Stanford researcher Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, which explores fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. Dweck explains how our beliefs in our capabilities influence how we learn and what we accomplish.
- Fixed mindset: Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence is static and tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, see effort as fruitless, ignore useful negative feedback, and feel threatened by others’ success.
- Growth mindset: Those with a growth mindset believe they can develop intelligence and tend to put effort into learning, embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find inspiration in others’ success.
Those with a fixed mindset may plateau early and never reach their full potential while those with a growth mindset reach ever-higher levels of achievement.
To understand what type of mindset you tend to have, examine what you take away from challenges. Do you use the lessons to grow yourself, or do you shy away from difficult situations? Understanding your current mindset is the first step toward building the skills necessary to manage your mindset.
Mindset Management Skills
Skills that help you persevere, learn, and grow aid in mindset management. You likely possess these skills in varying degrees; consider where there’s room to grow and what areas shape your attitude. Below are several traits to consider:
Understanding of personal motivation
Optimism and positivity
The most effective leaders recognize the art of weaving together different ways of thinking about their work while maintaining a growth mindset. The five managerial mindsets show how leaders can flex relevant skills in varying circumstances. Think about the skills that help you engage each of these mindsets.
Why Leaders Should Care about Mindset Management
Plain and simple, the ability to manage your mindset makes you a better leader. In fact, mindset management is what allows you to develop a high-performing team. When you approach your team like a coach—with a team-first mentality—you’ll establish shared goals, clearly defined roles, and mutual accountability.
Helping your team develop mindset management skills is a worthwhile pursuit as well. These skills help everyone individually and collectively adapt to change, bounce back from failure, and achieve lofty goals. You may run into situations where you need to change others’ mindsets before anything gets done, so mindset management is a critical skill for leaders.
How to Adjust Your Mindset
The following tools and strategies can help you strengthen your mindset management skills:
- Executive coaching: Executive coaches help steer your leadership development by creating structure, helping you set goals, providing objective feedback, and analyzing ways you can improve your mindset and, in turn, your leadership effectiveness.
- Personal relationships: Other people wield great influence in shaping your mindset. They say you are the company you keep, and while this old saying was written about friendship, it applies to your mindset too. The thoughts, actions, and mindsets of the people you associate with can influence how you think and act—so choose your company wisely.
- Books: The best books on executive coaching and leadership development don’t just provide leaders with tools to identify problems, set goals, and find lasting solutions; rather, they help leaders develop a mindset that embraces change and welcomes growth.
To change your mindset, begin by looking inward with self-reflection and analysis, and then seek external resources. However you approach it, mindset management is a powerful tool.
Achieving a Leadership Mindset
Your mindset affects how you do everything—not just in your career but in your personal life as well. Dedicate some time to examining your mindset and you’ll quickly see that it determines how you carry yourself through life.
Questions to Consider
Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
Can you think of times you’ve acted with a growth mindset and times you’ve acted with a fixed mindset?
Do you have a mentor who has a growth mindset?
Where have you grown the most or seen a mindset shift over the last year?
I’d love to help you build mindset management skills. Contact me to learn how leadership advising and coaching services can help you manage your mindset.