October 9, 2018

The critical points of mindset in leadership

Mindset is one of the most powerful characteristics of each individual. They way you view and respond to people and events around you can be the difference between success and failure. But it is also the very thing that can help you appreciate the lessons from both your successes as well as failures.

When it comes to leadership, the right mindset is essential. Without it, you cannot even begin to unlock the success that you and your organisation are capable of. As clichéd as it may seem, change can only happen when it starts from within each individual.

Dr C Terry Warner, an American author, business consultant and founder of The Arbinger Institute, has said that the mindset can be compared to the lens of each person. People use this lens to perceive their true self, others, and the world.

Further research has led to the conclusion that there are two mindsets from which people operate: a self-focused inward mindset and an others-inclusive outward mindset.

Mindset is not only important on an individual level, but also on a departmental and organisational level. You react to certain people and situations based on your mindset. Here are four points that underscore why mindset is a critical part of business leadership today:

The first critical point is adaptability. Your mindset will definitely affect how adaptable you are to any changes that emerge in the business landscape. You know that change is inevitable, yet people are rarely ready for it. Even if they are, change is still tiring and time-consuming, especially if you are a business leader trying to guide other people in the organisation.

The right mindset might just be the reason you will be able to adapt as fast as the world changes. The faster your mind accepts the changes in the business landscape, the faster you can adapt to those changes and the better it is for your organisation. You and your organisation can become agile and be able to survive in the rapidly changing world.

The second critical point is commitment. Mindset can affect your level of commitment dramatically. With the right mindset, you can be highly committed to overcoming all kinds of challenges. At the other extreme, without the right mindset, you and your organisation may lose momentum the moment you lose motivation, and progress will stall.

Oftentimes, organisations want quick results but that is not always the case. Commitment means being able to make well-informed decisions about a particular goal. Maintaining the mindset that things don’t happen overnight will require consistency on your part.

The third critical point is communication, affecting how you react and communicate — basically lead — the people in your organisation. It is impossible for you to lead without communicating and getting your people on board with the vision you have for your business.

The fourth critical point is influence. According to Ken Blanchard, an American author, management expert and founder of The Blanchard Companies: “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”

Leadership today no longer rests on authority. If you want your people to achieve organisational goals, you must be able to lead them through influence and role modelling yourself. Nobody likes to be ordered to do things; they would rather be inspired.

This point is especially true for the newer generations. They want to have purpose and they are often driven away by highly autocratic leaders. As a business leader, this is important to keep in mind as more young people enter the workplace.

The last critical point is accountability. This mindset can reflect either your willingness to take accountability for your actions and be responsible, or to place all the blame on other factors.

We all have our own ways of dealing with different problems but the most important step is to be accountable for the outcome, regardless of whether something was directly your fault or not — that’s the challenge that leaders face.

We cannot expect to immediately shift our mindset overnight or expect change to happen in a couple of days. But it is important to first understand what critical aspects of leadership it affects in order to create those first few steps toward a change for the better.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC, Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa For daily updates, visit www.facebook.com/seasiacenter 

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