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Most leaders are very comfortable in managing the day-to-day performance of their people. The typical career progression for a leader means that they were likely promoted from within, largely because they have demonstrated mastery in their technical area. Typically you are moving from being a highly successful individual contributor to suddenly being a manager of people. This is a big mindset shift that has derailed many previous successful people. The move from individual recognition to team recognition requires a very different thought pattern and behaviours, and if you are not prepared for tehi, it can quickly lead to failure. As your organization grows there is a need for your leaders to evolve from telling, or using a directive leadership approach to coaching which relies more on asking thought provoking questions. This is a key step that unfortunately many businesses and leaders miss. It is vital to get this right if you want to become an exceptional leader. Not only that but it develops you and your people to a much higher level, and really helps a company excel through engaging their people for success. Managers and leaders need to embrace the fact that they no longer have to have all of the “right” answers, and can’t be expected to in today's rapidly changing workplace. However, what they need to do to combat this, is they need to know how to ask the “right” questions.
Today we will really focus on more of the key needs around your leadership mindset, developing it and the impacts is can have on key people areas such as culture and engagement in order to build you a sustainable business that is driven to success through exceptional people, ones who are engaged and willing to put their themselves forward to drive, innovation, culture and a positive and rewarding work environment.
Exceptional leadership is a key success tool in any business, and it takes effort, time and experience to achieve. It’s not an overnight thing, or something that you can decide to have, or do. However, getting it right can improve your culture, leading to growth and innovation as well as retaining your talent. Engaging your People to achieve this will deliver you maximum success across your company. So to ensure you can start on this pathway and develop your success, we first need to work on your leadership mindset and help you evolve into the great leader you want to be.
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What You Need to Know - The What
Having a leadership mindset means seeing problems as opportunities and recognizing that every challenge provides an opportunity to learn and grow. A true leader is able to keep their team focused on outcomes and prevent them from getting bogged down in difficulties.
It sounds straightforward, and obvious, but yet so many leaders can’t stay at this level for long. They get overtaken by the day to day and start to revert to the old habits of success they learnt as self-starters or managers……habits which might be great if it is just you, but when you have teams and are responsible for entire businesses or business units, there is a massive need to move out of the ‘just me’ space, and the learnings you achieved there and adapt them to the ‘it's about everyone’ else space, and understand how as a leader you can change your mindset to capitalise on the needs of others first in order to create success for all.
Your leaders need to;
Recognise that our workforce needs have changed, people now want value, to feel valued and be able to give value. They don’t want, or rarely want a job for life, so our leaders need to embrace this core need as part of their leadership mindset. This means that old fashioned command and control managers are out, and those who can really focus on developing a leadership mindset, incorporating people needs, as well as company needs are the ones that are going to be truly successful.
A Good Place to Start is recognising the Different Types of Coaching and encouraging and supporting a shift to Situational. This will build your coaching and mentoring muscles as well as ensure you are displaying empathy.
One of the best ways to get better at non-directive coaching is to try using the GROW model, developed in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore and others. It's an old model but incredibly simple and effective and still relevant today. This really helps leaders move from the direct telling model they often get trapped in, to achieving the more conversational encouragement and support model that they need to make the behavioural shift to in order to develop their leadership mindset and focus on others, not just themselves.
A leadership mindset is important, as it's about more than just hitting revenue targets, yes that’s important, but a leadership mindset gets you there through engaging your people, who after all are your greatest asset. A leadership mindset also helps you challenge your own assumptions, and develop a core strength that allows you to learn from challenges and develop further rather than just relying on old and trusted strategies and ideas. Allowing you to keep yourself, your people and your business at the forefront of emerging changes and challenges. This is why it is so crucial to develop it now.
Covey gives a 6 point guide, and I have used that as a base to expand on to help you really understand how to develop your leadership MIndset.
1. Understand what you need to do to Develop a Leader's Mindset, and progressively work towards it. You are shifting from an individual contributor to someone who gets things done through engaging others
2. Hold Regular 1-on-1s.
3. Set up Your Team to Get Results.
4. Create a Culture of Feedback.
5. Lead Your Team Through Change.
6. Manage Your Time and Energy.
7. Focus on your own development- Training is important
8. Develop a leadership network internally and externally
To keep this all working for you well into the future, you need to protect your leadership mindset, by also developing a growth mindset.
Growth Mindset: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” ( Dweck, 2015)
Over 30 years ago, Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students' attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. After studying the behavior of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.
In a nutshell, people with growth mindsets are constantly trying to learn and grow to better themselves. These are individuals who enjoy challenges and believe that their intelligence, talents, and basic abilities can be increased or enhanced through hard work and dedicated effort
Only you can choose to make the extra effort to build a growth mindset, you can make your mental processes work for you, resulting in a greater likelihood that you get the results you're looking for and live the life you want to live.
Previous: Episode E5 Nurture your People and remove Bias in Promotions
Next: Episode 7 Authentic Leaders- What are they and why should you become one.
Written by Lisa Askwith
Director of ApexBRS | ApexBRS, Regional Director of See Global Media, Chair of EGN Singapore, and Associate Professor Cambridge Corporate University | At the Age of Change, providing the HR component of the Global Executive MBA and BBA. Lisa has worked for some of the largest companies in the world and successfully led restructures and change management programs in order to improve the bottom line through engaging the people for success, while developing exceptional leaders who can make a positive impact on Culture and long term business sustainability.
You can connect with Lisa on any of her platforms
LinkedIn Lisa Askwith - Director - Apex BRS
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