- Do you ever struggle with the idea of being a leader?
- Do you ever wonder how best to lead in certain situations?
- Do you ever have difficulty leading certain people?
- Does the idea of having to lead anything make you nervous?
These are the types of questions I’m working on as the founder of Lifelong Leaders. There’s a whole lot of people out there who struggle with leadership and leadership issues on a daily basis. Maybe you’re one of them, but you’re afraid to talk about it. I get it. It’s hard to talk about our struggles. But that’s what lifelong leaders do. My hope is to create some safe places for you to be honest and talk it out.
Many people will say something like, “I am confident when it comes to the work I have to do. But I struggle with how to lead others in the work they need to do.” They don’t want to revert to walking around and demanding things all day. That gets exhausting. And it doesn’t do much for morale.
So people will often ask, “What should I do?” At that point, I try to back up a bit from action and spend a lot of time talking about their thinking. We talk about how they think and what they think about. We look at the way they see their leadership and the effect they’re hoping for (sometimes those don’t match up). We examine the perspectives they carry with them and how helpful those are.
The path to becoming better at leadership starts with our minds. It starts with the way we think. If you can change your thinking, you’ll change your actions which will change your results. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you’ll probably focus on the results first. But that won’t get you very far.
For you reading this, think about your mindset when you walked into work today or when you entered your last meeting or when you came into the house. Most people will enter with this mindset:
- What do I have to do?
- How does this affect me?
- What will cause me the least amount of pain?
That’s not the mindset of a leader, that’s the mindset of a worker. A worker will put a lot of focus on themselves and the work that they have to do.
One of the biggest shifts in mindset from worker to leader is this: the ability to focus more on the people you work with than the work itself.
Good leaders don’t put their head down all day and focus on their own work. They focus more on the people they lead. What does that look like?
Let’s say you’re about to enter a meeting. Using the Lifelong Leader Framework as a guide, let’s look at the type of mindset that is necessary for you as the leader.
Leading Yourself First – you enter the room with clear thinking because you’re healthy and energetic. You’re thinking about the responsibility you have for your own responses, reactions and demeanor.
Growing Your Influence – you enter the room thinking of how you’ll build trust, listen better and help people feel safe around you.
Making The Difference – you enter the room thinking intentionally about what needs to be accomplished based on your vision of the future.
Creating Clarity – you enter the room thinking about the most simple and concise way to share information so that everyone understands.
Getting Others Invested – you enter the room thinking about who is best suited to take responsibility and share in the ownership.
Can you see how changing your mindset might change how you act and respond? Of course, this is much harder than just thinking about yourself. But you already knew that.
One great way to put this into action is to test it in the next meeting you have. Go through the Lifelong Leader Framework and write down how you want to think before you enter the room. Then do it.
I’d love to hear how it goes.
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