What’s Your Leadership Mindset?

Photo by Courtney Clayton on Unsplash

It struck me again, as I watched my boys playing tennis, how important our mindset is. With every miss hit or long serve son No 1 became increasingly frustrated and focused on all the things he was doing wrong. The other son was much more relaxed and although he made similar mistakes he kept his focus on winning the next point ( they are both very competitive!).

There is a old Cherokee story called the ‘Story of Two Wolves’ which I’ll re- tell as it emphasises the point:

One evening, an elderly Cherokee Brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said ” My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealous, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self- pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?…” The old Cherokee simply replied, ” the one that you feed”.

So which wolf do you spend your time feeding? One of the things I frequently observe when coaching my executive coaching clients is an over-emphasis on listening to the  negative internal chatter about what they did wrong, could have done better, where they were stupid etc.

We often spend so much time listening to these voices that we believe them to be true and yet we rarely take the time to stop and “feed the other wolf” with the great things we are achieving or are grateful for and as a consequence our mindset becomes one-sided and frequently negative.  And because your leadership impact stems directly from your mindset which influences your behaviour you can often end up with unintended consequences and unwanted results and outcomes.

Your behaviour is representative of your mindset. As a leader, you want to maintain a leadership mindset. If your perspective is filled with negativity or limiting beliefs, then you have a mindset that will negatively affect others, and will not give you the results you desire. If your mindset however, is on abundance, strengths and positivity, which are qualities of a leadership mindset, then you will positively influence others and achieve your desired results.

We often engage in behaviours without considering that we have a CHOICE in whether or not to engage in them. If our circumstances are not going the way we desire, we may feel and act like a victim (how often when we play a sport like tennis do we blame the racquet, the balls, the court or the opponent?). But if you make different choices about your behaviour and change your actions, your results will change.

You stop being a victim of your circumstances.

Its important to note that changing your behaviour is not sustainable unless you change your negative mindset to a leadership mindset. A great example of this is when people lose weight. If they just change their behaviour – such as eating fewer calories – they lose weight. But if they don’t change their mindset around food, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, they rebound and gain their weight back because they haven’t changed the underlying problem – they haven’t changed the mindset that drives them to overeat.

Changing your behaviour without changing your mindset is not sustainable. Changing your mindset, however, creates sustainable behavioural change. What better way to start the new year than reflecting on all the great things you bring to the world.

So observe your impact on others, observe your actions as you carry them out, and observe your mindset as it fills your thoughts and shapes your attitudes. When you notice negative, limiting thoughts, make a choice and shift your perspective to an abundant leadership mindset. Wishing you all the best in 2015.

If you want to learn more about leadership then you can sign up to receive my free e- report  called “3 Secrets to Effective and Impactful Leadership” .

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