More is written about and more time and money are spent on leadership development and leadership effectiveness than ever. The reasons are many, and yet the results often fall far short of the hopes and expectations of those involved. While leadership and leadership development are complex, I believe there is a fundamental reason why there is so much frustration and a prevailing sense of futility around building greater leadership effectiveness.
Most all of what is written about leadership is focused on skills – and with good reason. There are skills that will encourage others to follow, allowing leaders to be more successful.
Unfortunately, that is an oversimplification.
And when you try to over simplify something complex, things will be missing – and things won’t work.
One complicating fact is that while we often think we are teaching (or learning) skills, we are only teaching (or gaining) knowledge. Skills only come with practice and use. Skills can’t be developed solely from a classroom, a video, a book, or a blog post.
We aren’t just missing the mark in transferring skills though. Because even if we get the skills part right, more is missing. Specifically, what comes before the skill and what it takes for the skill to take hold.
The Remarkable 3
If it takes more than skills, what else does it take? I call these three components The Remarkable 3 – because when you have all three working together, you have the best chance to become the remarkable leader you were born to be. Let’s talk about each one briefly.
Mindset can be defined as: a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations. Our mindset — our attitude and how we interpret the world — creates our thoughts, and those thoughts drive our actions. If we don’t align our mindset with the skills we want to employ (or teach others), there is virtually no chance of learning those skills.
While there isn’t a specific set of “right” mindsets for leadership effectiveness, there are certainly many that can positively impact how successful a leader will be – and how likely they will use the skills that support greater success. If we leave out mindset, you can see that skills won’t be enough.
I don’t mean to send a message that skills don’t matter to achieve leadership effectiveness. Of course skills matter – they just aren’t the entire picture. As a leader, you must have a clear list of the skills you need to build and develop to succeed. There are many lists of leadership skills. The power isn’t in finding the perfect list, but rather in prioritizing the list for you as a leader. Each leader must know what skills they want and need to develop. Without this focus, and without realizing that leadership requires our on-going skill development, we can’t succeed at a level anywhere close to our potential.
You do hundreds of things each day subconsciously – without thinking. And as leaders, we all do the same thing all day long. We have habits for how we do many things, and they aren’t all likely serving us as well as they could. The simple fact is learning a new skill (or improving an existing one) requires a change of habit. In order to be a better leader, we must look at our habitset, and learn how to alter it so we can get the better results we desire.
It takes more than a skillset to be an effective leader. It also takes the right mindset and habitset.
If you found this article interesting and want to learn and go deeper, I have created a free series of eight videos called The Remarkable 3: Revealing the Elements of Remarkable Leadership Development. In this series, we dive into each of the components and how you can develop them for yourself and others. Get registered now to receive this video series!