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Friday, September 02, 2011

Positive Leadership: What is Your Leadership Mindset?

Everyone gets stuck in a rut. We might have days, weeks, or even months, where we feel like we’ve lost our focus, take longer than necessary to achieve goals, or simply become disconnected from our work.

It’s not a bad thing to admit you’re in a rut. However, it can become detrimental to your career if you don’t take action to dig yourself out of it, and make some sort of change.

So, how do you go about making such a change?  First off – strive to change your leadership mindset. Specifically, aim to adjust your mindset from a ‘fixed’ to ‘growth’ mindset, as presented by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

In the book, she discusses how those with a fixed theory of intelligence believe they are born with a certain set of skills and their success is based on innate abilities. Plainly speaking, those people believe they either have a particular talent or they don’t. In essence, if someone has a fixed mindset, they are not open to self-improvement. Instead of finding ways to keep learning and evolving as a leader, they simply remain the same. Anything new is avoided because it may show weakness, and they are apprehensive to failure because it will mean a negative statement on their abilities. As a result, these individuals don’t reach their full potential. When they get stuck in a rut, good luck to them because they will be there for a long time.

Now on the opposite end of the spectrum, those with a growth mindset view success as being based on hard work and learning. These individuals believe they can always get better at what they do and have untapped potential. They are willing to stretch their comfort zone, and look at criticism and failure as opportunities to grow.

Dweck actually argues a growth mindset allows one to live a more successful life. And for those with a fixed mindset you’re in luck because one’s mindset, of course, can be altered.

One definition of mindset is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one’s behaviour, outlook, and mental attitude.

Recognising that we can choose whether or not to engage in certain behaviours is the first step toward changing your leadership mindset.

The key to getting out of a rut is committing to a change in mindset.