The role of a leader is complex, and many skills are needed to lead successfully. Any new leader knows that or quickly becomes aware of that fact. Yet skills aren’t the only thing new leaders must master. And as important as those skills are, having the right leadership mindset is even more important – and less obvious. What is the leadership mindset that a new leader needs?
Let’s start here: leadership isn’t about you.
This isn’t easy to remember amongst the congratulations and all the change you are experiencing as you begin your new role. Additionally, you may have experienced some bosses who were a bit heavy-handed, a bit power-hungry, and led as if they were all-knowing and in charge. If you are feeling a bit self-centered, having seen that example before, you could be led to buy in to a misguided leadership mindset.
If leadership isn’t about us, what is it about?
Leadership is about outcomes and others.
The Other-Focused Mindset
You’ve been given the opportunity and responsibility to lead a team. What is your role? To help that team reach valuable outcomes. You might call these outcomes goals, strategies or something else – but it is your responsibility to accomplish those things and reach those desirable outcomes. You can’t do it alone, and you likely don’t really want to, which means you need others to help you get there.
As a leader when you realize you will achieve the most when you equip, empower and engage your team to reach those desirable outcomes, you become far more effective. When we remember this, we realize that our leadership mindset must be focused on others, not ourselves.
A Practical Perspective
While having another-focused mindset requires that we relinquish some perceived control, it truly is a freeing approach to work. Your role is challenging enough without acting and thinking as though all the responsibility rests on you. Rather than trying to exercise control and assuming you must have all the right answers you can now lead, rather than only do. This allows you to:
- Get more and better ideas. Good things happen when you gain the insights and information from the team. Chances are they have ideas and perspectives you don’t have, and more good ideas will lead to better productivity and results.
- Allow others to grow and develop. If you are focused on yourself, you aren’t thinking about developing others or giving them much of a chance.
- Have a bigger influence. Rather than thinking about what you might be giving up (control and power), you are gaining far more influence. As you lead effectively you will have more power granted to you by the team (in terms of trust, belief and engagement) that you could have ever had on your own anyway.
Doing these things isn’t easy and won’t happen automatically. But they won’t ever happen at all – and you will never be an influential, effective, and successful leader until you adopt a mindset that is outwardly focused.
I hope this article gives you a picture of a leadership mindset that will serve you and everyone around far more effectively than any other option.
The transition to a leadership role is complex. And if you don’t have help and support, it can be stressful, frustrating, and difficult. Enter the Bud to Boss Learning Experience. Designed for new and front-line leaders to help them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed (including creating the right mindsets), we have virtually every approach to helping people learn these critical leadership skills. Learn more about your options here.