Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Leadership Mindset!

Leaders like to use their strengths to achieve quick, dramatic results; they like to believe they are as good as everyone says they are, and not take their weaknesses too seriously; they believe that some people are superior and some are inferior; they put their faith in talent; and they see themselves as "the smartest guys in the room".

Sound familiar?

Evidence from the Global Financial Crisis shows that when people work in an environment that esteems them for their innate talent, they have difficulty when their image is threatened; they won't admit they're wrong to peers and stakeholders, and they won't take remedial action. Ultimately a company that can't self-correct can't thrive. And the rest, as they say, is history!

What's the alternative?

The alternative is leaders with a 'growth mindset'. They believe in human development; they're not constantly trying to prove they're better than others; they don't highlight being at the top of the hierarchy; they don't claim credit for others' contributions; and they don't undermine others to feel powerful.

Instead they are constantly trying to improve. They surround themselves with the most capable people they can find, they honestly look at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they question what skills they and the company will need in the future. And because of this, they lead their companies with confidence based in the facts, not built on fantasies about their own talent.

Leaders with a growth mindset think it's nice to have talent, but that's just the beginning of creating an environment in which people can thrive.

Here are 7 things you can do:
  1. Demonstrate more commitment to your team member's development; give more developmental coaching.
  2. Go out of your way to notice and acknowledge improvement in your team member's performance.
  3. Welcome critiques from your team members.
  4. Present skills as learnable.
  5. Convey ways in which the organisation values learning and perseverance, not just ready-made genius or talent.
  6. Give feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success.
  7. Create ways to foster a diversity of views and constructive criticism; assign people to play the devil's advocate so you can see the holes in your position.
This comes from the book by world-renowned Stanford University psychology professor, Carol Dweck: "Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential" (2012). If you've got time, check out her TED talk here.