How To Develop The Mindset Of A Leader

by Mike O'Neill

Are you a leader struggling to run your business as smoothly as you should? Do you feel like you’re living in a constant state of overwhelm — having too much to do and never enough time to do it all?

If this sounds familiar, you've likely been looking for new tools or tactics to help, but nothing ever seems to make a difference for long. Sometimes tools and tactics aren’t the solution. Sometimes you need a coach who can help guide you through these challenges and develop the daily habits you need to succeed.

With decades of experience helping leaders get unstuck and find the solutions for their problems, we know just how to help you develop the mindset of a leader and take your business to new heights. 

Keep reading to learn what a leadership mindset is and how to develop it. 

What is a Leadership Mindset?

A leadership mindset is how a leader perceives and processes information they take in from their environment to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. It’s the driving force behind what leaders do and why.

4 Ways to Develop a Leadership Mindset

Developing a leadership mindset is something that anyone can do. Even people who aren’t in a leadership role can learn to adopt a leadership mindset to improve other aspects of their lives.

Let's look at four ways how you can develop a leadership mindset so you can take control of yourself and your company to make it grow.

1. Understand the Types of Leadership Mindsets

Understanding the different types of leadership mindsets allows you to recognize which ones you’re currently exhibiting and where you can improve. 

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

Are you a leader who believes that people can’t change their intelligence, abilities, or talents? If you answered yes, then you currently have a fixed mindset. 

On the flip side, if you’re a leader who does believe people can change these things about themselves, then you’re a leader with a growth mindset. Which is better?

Decades of research proves that leaders with a growth mindset:

  • Are more mentally prepared to handle and take on challenges
  • Accept and take advantage of constructive feedback
  • Adopt the most effective problem-solving strategies
  • Give constructive feedback to subordinates
  • Are persistent and effortful in seeking to accomplish their goals

Learning and Performance Mindsets

Do you feel like a leader who’s motivated to master something new and increase your competence?

Or are you a leader who’s motivated by gaining or avoiding judgment from others — positive or negative? 

If yes is your answer to the first question, you’re a leader with a learning mindset. If you answered yes to the second question, you’re a leader with a performance mindset. Leaders with a learning mindset compared to those with a performance mindset:

  • Are more mentally prepared to increase their competence
  • Are able to engage in deep-level learning strategies 
  • Ask for constructive feedback
  • Cooperate well with others
  • Perform at higher levels

Deliberative and Implemental Mindsets

Are you a leader who's receptive to new information and wants to think and act as optimally as possible?

Or are you a leader who’s more focused on implementation — closing yourself off to new ideas and information?

When comparing the two, leaders with deliberative mindsets make more impartial and accurate decisions because they’re less biased in their decision-making process.

Promotion and Prevention Mindsets

Do you focus more on winning and gains? Or do you focus more on preventing or avoiding problems or losses?

Leaders with a promotion mindset strive to make progress toward a specific purpose, goal, or destination. In contrast, leaders with prevention mindsets focus on avoiding anything negative at all costs.

Adopting a promotion mindset allows you to:

  • Be more prone to positive thinking
  • Be more open to change
  • Be more likely not to let challenges or setbacks steal your motivation
  • Demonstrate higher performance levels than leaders with a prevention mindset

2. Organize Yourself So You Can Lead

Do you find it challenging to stay organized? Are you constantly finding yourself completing projects last minute or forgetting about important meetings? 

If you do, you're holding your business back, and your employees will have a difficult time trusting your leadership abilities.

Don’t worry, though! If organization isn’t your strong suit, there are tools and coaches who can help. If you think having a coach to help you get organized and hold you accountable is something that would work great for you — let’s talk. Until then, here’s a list of tools you can try to get you organized and on task:

3. Build a Continuous Motivation Plan

Developing the mindset of a leader relies heavily on your ability to motivate yourself and stay inspired. When you lose your motivation and inspiration, you’ll have a challenging time talking yourself into doing the tasks you need to do to keep your business going strong. 

Building a continuous motivation plan that you follow — no matter what — keeps you motivated, enabling you to always perform at your best and maintain a healthy leadership mindset — despite the challenges life throws your way.

You can get help from a coach to create the optimal plan for you, but some things you can initiate on your own include:

  • Read books or listen to audiobooks
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Take online courses
  • Join communities where other business leaders help each other — social networks, mastermind groups, etc.

4. Build a Team That’s Aligned With Your Vision

Even if your company already has a mission statement, it’s likely that your mission statement is pretty dry and boring — which does little to motivate and inspire your team.

Not only do you need to motivate and inspire yourself — you have to do the same for your team — otherwise, they won’t know:

  • What the vision for the company is
  • Why it matters or what’s at stake if your vision isn’t brought to life
  • What role they’ll play in it

In the words of Donald Miller, “People will go where you tell them to go. If you don’t lead them somewhere good, somebody might lead them somewhere bad.”

If you aren’t aligning your team around a compelling vision of the future that inspires them to follow you, then they’ll find someone else to lead them, and that other leader may not have the same vision for the company that you do. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to review your mission statement to make sure it includes the elements mentioned above to ingrain your company’s vision and values into every single thing your company does.

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