I’ve personally had to go through several levels of transformational change, at multiple times during my leadership career. Once I was assigned a lateral promotion, which would be disappointing to most ambitious executives. But I decided to see it instead as a rare opportunity to broaden the breadth and scope of my leadership experience, vision, and perspective. That positive attitude made all the difference. Subsequently, I began to quickly climb to greater leadership heights. Then I was challenged to lead and manage at a much higher level than what I was accustomed to. I could have easily burned out, due to no fault of my own. Instead, I was determined to develop new skills to ensure that I succeeded by being capable of playing a much bigger game.
Then I made the most radical decision of my professional life, which required drastic transformation. I left a highly-coveted leadership position to strike out on my own as a corporate consultant and executive coach. But those different transformative experiences were absolutely priceless. They forced me to dramatically change how I thought and how I interpreted my challenges. That’s why I teach my clients that if you want to continue to evolve, you’ve got to raise the bar of your mental outlook.
Take a Tip from Einstein
Albert Einstein explained that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, while expecting to get a different result. In terms of your leadership mindset, it’s crazy to think that you are going to achieve different outcomes by applying the same thought process that hasn’t worked for you before.
Everything that has ever been accomplished began with a thought and an idea. But, unfortunately, many of the ways of thinking, strategizing, and conceptualizing in today’s business world are rooted in unhealthy leadership DNA.
The good news is that you can change and adapt, by using your most valuable asset – the mind. The mind is the key to leadership development and success, and it all begins with your thought process. Unlock your mind’s transformational potential and it will accelerate your career beyond your wildest expectations.
Lead from Your Mind Outward
How you think influences your emotional life, your self-identity, your confidence, and your passion for excellence. All of that determines your behavior. That includes how you carry yourself and speak, and what kind of gravitas and executive presence or leadership charisma you exude. But behavior influenced by thought also refers to more subtle actions. Your decision making, for instance, and your ability to problem solve are both cognitive behaviors shaped by your thought process.
If your perspective is narrow or the habitual patterns of self-talk in your head are unhealthy and negative, that impacts your cognition. It can make you more critical and less inclusive and supportive of your team members. Leaders who don’t cultivate a positive, solution-oriented mindset tend to see others as the source of all problems, creating unnecessary barriers to progress. To be respected for your thought leadership, you have to practice managing what you think. You need to remain keenly aware and accountable regarding why you think the way you do.To be respected for your thought leadership, you have to practice managing what you think. #leadership #mindset Click To Tweet
Change Requires New Thinking
Significant or innovative change never occurs without a change in the way you think. If you’ve been told that you need to improve in a specific skill, or you’ve been tapped for the top talent list, chances are you’ve been given some feedback. Or you have your own aspirations and vision regarding where you wish to develop and improve as a leader. But just pondering those ideas isn’t enough, if you’re pondering them from the same point of view or mindset.
You have to go through a process of intentionally changing your mindset, which takes practice. It’s like training a muscle group if you’re an athlete. You can’t do it from the sofa and expect results. You have to practice while actually playing a bigger game. If you want to obtain a higher level position, you’ve got to take decisive and positive actions to pave the way. Adjusting how you perceive your situation, and interpreting it in a new light, can set you up for exponentially greater success.
The Bottom Line
Attitude affects altitude, and the higher you rise in an organization, the more it matters. We’ve all suffered under leadership that lacked a healthy outlook and broad vision. But you were inspired to become a leader by those who were role models for thought management and internal growth. Follow these tips and you, too will be that kind of exemplary leader – and it will show in your performance results.
Sarah’s Application Principles
1) Recall a major setback or failure. Next, acknowledge the ways that you overcome that and gained from the experience to get to where you are today.
2) Now think of a smaller setback or time of frustration from this year. In retrospect, can you view it as an opportunity that added to your depth of leadership experience and insight?
3) Do this kind of reframing exercise every day. Look for positive reinterpretations that can broaden your vision, silence your negativity, and develop empathy and appreciation for those you lead.
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