Do You Need to Improve Leadership Mindsets at Work?

Do You Need to Improve Leadership Mindsets at Work?
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Disappointing Executive Team Results? Maybe It’s Time to Improve Leadership Mindsets at Work.
Not all executive teams perform at their peak at all times.  Ineffective executive teams tend to operate in silos, micromanage their teams, or make misaligned leadership decisions.  When it is clear that senior leaders need to operate at a higher level to succeed, an underutilized performance lever revolves around the leadership mindsets at work that drive key behaviors and actions.

Leadership Mindsets versus Leadership Skills
Can’t top tier leaders just focus on improving certain leadership knowledge, skills, and behaviors? The short answer is: it’s not that simple.  If there is not alignment between the desired new behaviors and mindsets in each situation, behavior change is unlikely to last – especially when the stakes are high.

Unfortunately, leadership mindsets at work are often overlooked because organizations can easily buy leadership simulation assessments, action learning leadership development programs, and executive coaching.  While these leadership development tools can all be effective when implemented properly, they tend to not move the needle unless they also impact the underlying mindsets that drive the thoughts, behaviors, and performance of senior leaders.

How to Change and Improve Leadership Mindsets at Work
Recent research by Ernst & Young found that 79% of C-suite leaders agree that senior leaders will need to adopt a different set of mindsets for their business to succeed.  Changing or improving leadership mindsets at work matters because a leader’s thoughts influence their actions, and their actions drive their performance. To reach a higher level of leadership behavior and performance, you must first improve leadership mindsets. Here is a high-level roadmap to follow:

  1. Recognize that Leadership Mindsets Drive Leadership Behavior
    People must first understand and agree that leadership mindsets influence how leaders engage with others and that leaders have control over their own mindsets.  The acknowledgement that every leader can choose their leadership mindset before, during, and after every encounter sets the stage for growth and behavior change.

    Do your leaders have the positive frame of mind necessary to learn, grow, and change?
  2. Agree Upon the Needed Leadership Mindsets
    Once you agree that leadership mindsets are an important component of higher performance, your next step is to identify and prioritize the needed leadership mindsets to best execute your strategy going forward.  Because each corporate strategy and marketplace is unique, the leadership mindsets required for a company to succeed (even in the same industry) can be very different.

    Do you know what mindsets will propel your strategy and your people forward?
  1. Assess Current Leadership Mindsets
    Once you have identified and prioritized the leadership mindsets required to succeed, there are many leadership assessment tools that can accurately measure the current mindsets of your leaders. You need this information before you can begin to determine what you need to monitor, maintain, prioritize, and leverage to help get to where you want to go. 

    While effective leadership mindsets depend on the circumstances, examples of types of leadership mindsets that can be assessed include: growth, inclusive, agile, enterprise, builder, chameleon, egoist, sociopath, responsible, daring, ambitious, appreciative, politically savvy, virtuous, confident, humble, ruthless, and caring.

    Do you know the mindsets of your current leaders?
  2. Create a Plan to Close the Critical Gaps
    Focus on closing the critical few gaps in two areas: (1) the one or two collective leadership mindsets that must shift to increase collective leadership team performance and (2) the one or two individual mindsets of each leader that must shift to improve individual leadership performance.  This usually takes a combination of executive team interventions, executive coaching, and individual development plans with behavioral nudges.

    Are you ready to align leadership mindsets with your strategic priorities?

The Bottom Line
Leadership mindsets come from individual and corporate beliefs, attitudes, and values.  They implicitly and explicitly guide all leadership actions. Are your leadership mindsets misaligned or outdated? Do you need to improve leadership mindsets at work?

When you need to improve leadership performance, think about including mindsets as part of your leadership development and succession planning efforts.

To learn more about how to take your leaders – and their mindsets – to the next level, download How to Fast Track Your Leaders with Just-in-Time Action Learning

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