Developing a Leadership Mindset

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

“You can change your mindset” – Carol S. Dweck – Mindset, The New Psychology of Success

In her highly acclaimed and recommended book Mindset , Carol S. Dweck lays out four foundational statements to gauge whether you have a fixed-mindset or a growth mindset.

Here are the statements ( Answer T  or F to each one):

  1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
  2. You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are,
  3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
  4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

Statements 1 and 2 are fixed-mindset statements. Statements 3 and 4 reflect the growth mindset. “Which did you agree with more? You can be a mixture, but most people lean toward one or the other,” states Dweck.

Over the years I have come to know that leaders have a mindset that sets them up for success or failure even before that leadership journey begins. 

The mindset you embrace sets the tone for your leadership style, success, and the influence you will have. What mindsets or characteristics will hold you back? Which ones will cause you to succeed? Here are a few.

The mindset of your attitude

In leadership, your attitude is your best friend or worst enemy. It’s one of the most contagious characteristics of your leadership style. It will cause people to rally around you and your vision or it will turn them away. The attitude mindset of the leader will be the benchmark for the rest of the organization. You can’t expect the attitude of your people to be good if the one you showcase is bad. Eventually, you will have to change your attitude or your people will change their address. (I wrote about attitude in the workplace here).

What kind of attitude are you projecting? Do you only focus on the negative? Do you only see what your people are doing wrong as opposed to what they do well? How does your attitude inspire, encourage, and motivate your colleagues? Is your attitude worthy of emulating?

The mindset of your perceptions

One of the basic foundational leadership lessons I learned many years ago from John Maxwell was in how he sees other people. Maxwell said he always looked at people and saw a “10”. It was his way of helping others get in touch with their potential and set them up for growth and success. Were all of the people he labeled as a  “10” truly a 10? Of course not. But the perception he put into play was one that emphasized unlimited growth and possibility in the people he believed in–even when they may have only been a 4, 5, or a 6 in reality.

What are the perceptions of the people you lead? Do you instill confidence in your people that reflects a 10 even though they may only be a 5? If known by your people would your perceptions give them a reason to be optimistic or discouraged? What changes do you need to make in your perceptions of other people or personal changes that would cause you to be a better leader in general?

The mindset of your personal growth and development

Every successful leader I know has one thing in common- they never stop growing.The older I get the more I realize how much I don’t know which is humbling. (I wrote about the things I wish I had known years ago about leadership here). You can have a fixed-growth mindset that Dweck writes about or you can have a growth mindset that will make all the difference in the world to your leadership. The mindset you choose, feed, and nurture is the one that will win out at the end of the day.

What are you doing on a daily basis that contributes to a growth mindset? As a whole, does your organization have a fixed-mindset or a growth mindset? What fixed-growth mindsets do you struggle with the most? What changes do you need to make to develop a growth mindset?

Developing a growth centered leadership mindset is the beginning of a leadership journey that begins by believing it is possible.


© 2017 Doug Dickerson

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About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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2 Responses to Developing a Leadership Mindset

  1. I firmly believe that our minds determine everything. Every act was once a thought. For good or bad, we become what we think about. This was a good reminder about that.


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