The Mindset of an Effective Leader

I find myself frequently being drawn back to and exploring the Growth Mindset, a concept that has been around for years. My Strengths lens attracts me to concepts and ideas that serve me in being more self-aware and improving myself. It’s the way I’m wired and it’s a never ending process.

I am beckoned to explore the edges of possibility and change, focusing on building my capacity and self-efficacy personally and professionally. In my experience with clients, I have found that adopting a growth mindset contributes to strengthening adaptability, integration, and resilience which are the bedrocks of sustainable leadership as I have defined it:

Sustainable Leadership is developing a leadership approach that is authentic to you and sustainable over the long term. It is about consciously engaging in a deeper relational understanding of one’s core self.

This is part 4 in the 5-part series on the Inner Core of Leadership by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Growth Mindset, Adaptability, Integration, Resilience, Sustainable Leadership, Fixed Mindset, Learning, Opportunities, Capacity, Inside Out, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Coach

Learning opportunities and what you do with them represent the core game. Click To Tweet

What distinguishes great leaders from mediocre leaders? Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. Leaders with a growth mindset use every challenge and failure as a learning opportunity. Effective leaders learn from every challenge.

Some leaders focus almost exclusively on performance. Others emphasize growth and learning, as well as results. In this horse race, put your money on the leader who defines both learning and performance goals.

Many managers and leaders are performance-driven. They have lists of SMART goals that highlight what they intend to achieve each quarter, often involving numbers:

  • Exceed sales results by 5%.
  • Increase bonuses by 10% by year’s end.
  • Improve team productivity by 25%.

In my coaching experience with leaders, such performance-driven leaders tend to focus exclusively on the outer game. They judge their worth and success by whether they’ve achieved these goals, and they hold their people to the same standards. They get the job done but often lack a sense of fulfillment. When you, as a leader, are not feeling fulfilled your people most likely do not feel fulfilled either. Their work becomes just a job.

Unfortunately, leaders who only focus on the outer game are likely missing key factors that restrict their leadership potential and a sense of fulfillment: a growth mindset and the ability to recognized and pursue learning opportunities 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 by taking advantage of opportunities results in things like:

  • Diminished feelings of stress.
  • Enhanced deep listening skills.
  • Increased clarity about to what you say yes and no.
  • Feeling a sense of engagement
  • Developing a broader range of emotional intelligence skills.
  • Improved coaching skills.
  • Facilitating more trust and cohesive team-building.

Performance goals are, of course, necessary for achieving bottom-line results. But how you achieve those results is equally important. Learning opportunities and what you do with them represent the core game you must work on to prevent stagnation and develop habits and practices for sustainable, authentic leadership. Expanding your capacity to lead from the inside out and be authentic with your team is priceless.

What learning opportunities do you avail yourself to? Have you worked with a coach on developing habits and practices for sustainable and authentic leadership? I’d love to hear about your experiences. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.


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