April 17, 2014

Lead at your best

The April 2014 issue of McKinsey Quarterly offers a great viewpoint about what limits us as leaders. Joanna Barsh and Johanne Lavoie argue that when we think of leadership, we often focus on the what: external characteristics, practices, behavior, and actions that exemplary leaders demonstrate as they take on complex and unprecedented challenges. While this line of thinking is a great place to start, we won’t reach our potential as leaders by looking only at what is visible. We need to see what’s underneath to understand how remarkable leaders lead—and that begins with mind-sets.

As important as mind-sets are, we often skip ahead to actions. We adopt behavior and expect it to stick through force of will. Sadly, it won’t if we haven’t changed the underlying attitudes and beliefs that drove the old behavior in the first place. Making matters worse, our behavior affects other people’s mind-sets, which in turn affect their behavior. A leader’s failure to recognize and shift mind-sets can stall the change efforts of an entire organization. Indeed, because of the underlying power of a leader’s mind-sets to guide an entire organization toward positive change, any effort to become better leaders should start with ourselves, by recognizing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that drive us.

In their article, they share five simple exercises adapted from our new book, Centered Leadership, that can help you become more aware of your mind-sets.

McKinsey Quarterly: Lead at your best (full article)

 

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