The Inner Mindset of an Effective Leader

There’s a saying: What you focus on expands. What you focus on is also integrated into your mindset. Foundational in your character, your mindset is a lens through which you believe, judge and act. Do you examine, challenge or stretch your mindset? Do you settle for living the status quo? Do you believe you can influence your mindset and what you are focusing on?

As a Strengths Strategy Certified coach I have personally experienced transformation in how I see myself and my behaviors as well as seeing that in my clients. When you come to understand yourself through the Strengths Lens your mindset shifts, as does your relationships to others. You have more information available to make choices that are aligned with how you see yourself and how you want to be as a leader.

Inner Game, Leadership Development, Growth Mindset, SMART Goals, Learning Goals, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Coach

Understanding yourself through the Strengths Lens shifts your mindset. Click To Tweet

What distinguishes great leaders from their mediocre colleagues? Leaders with a growth mindset use every challenge as a learning goal. They take risks and are not afraid of failing. They embrace failure as a learning opportunity. Effective leaders set their inner mindset to learn from every challenge.

Some leaders focus almost exclusively on performance. Others emphasize growth and learning, as well as results. Put your money on the leader whose focus is both on learning and performance.

Many managers and leaders believe that they have to be performance-driven in order to succeed. They have lists of SMART goals that highlight what they intend to achieve each quarter, often more technical in nature and focused on the numbers:

• Exceed sales results by 5%.
• Increase bonuses by 10% by year’s end.
• Improve team productivity by 25%.
• Increase shareholder value.
• Decrease customer complaints.

In my coaching work with clients, such performance-driven leaders are focused exclusively on the outer game. They judge their worth and others by whether they’ve achieved these goals, and they hold their people to the same standards. But what about the people? Performance at what cost?

Unfortunately, these leaders are likely missing key factors that restrict their potential and the potential of their teams: a growth mindset and the ability to set and pursue learning goals for themselves and others.

“The desire to learn is as fundamental to our being as the desire to survive and to enjoy.”
Tim Gallwey, The Inner Game of Work


Learning goals include:

• Diminish feelings of stress
• Enhance listening skills
• Develop empathy skills
• Improve coaching skills
• Facilitate more cohesive team-building

Performance goals are, of course, necessary for achieving bottom-line results. But, keep in mind that the bar is constantly being raised and change is a constant factor. How do you keep increasing your capacity to perform? If you cannot improve your capabilities, you’re unable to keep up. Focus your learning goals on strengths based leadership. You and your team cannot only increase productivity by 43% but can also increase engagement by 6X, teamwork and moral by 83% and performance by 36%. Trust increases also.

What is your experience with professional learning goals? Do you set learning goals for yourself, or have you worked with a coach on your inner game? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Reach me here and on LinkedIn.



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