What Does Your Mind-Set Say About Your Leadership Style?

Deciding to have the right approach to your role as a leader makes all the difference.

What Does Your Mind-Set Say About Your Leadership Style?
[Photo: Flickr user Gisela Giardino]

Leaders have a common trait of certainty in their mind-set. They have an ability to be decisive while expressing their viewpoint with certainty. Their mind-set remains steadfast on the mission.


So, where does it all begin and how do you become a leader? It comes from within and evolves with your mind-set.

Most people are guided by one of two mind-sets that control their thinking, decisions, and responses:

1. Fixed Mind-Set

People with a fixed mind-set believe their basic intelligence and talent are fixed traits. They spend time validating their perceived level of intelligence and talent rather than developing it, stagnating their growth potential.

They tend to believe that talent alone creates success without effort, or that lack of talent cannot be overcome no matter the effort put forth. They judge their own performance in terms of ability, which in their mind is permanent, becoming their inner belief.

For this, they often seek easy achievement activities and typically find excuses for underperformance or poor performance. After all, performance validates their self-belief. This view deters the need to try harder, serves to curb development, and inhibits success. They get stuck in their own thinking.

These people rarely look at themselves for resolve or change, and typically prefer to blame their situation or circumstance. Therefore, a fixed mind-set impedes the ability to adapt, limiting opportunity for personal growth and success.


2. Growth Mind-Set

In a growth mind-set, people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. They believe that intelligence and talent are just the starting point. They see their potential as being unlimited. They envision their own success and take ownership for achieving it. They embrace the challenge of learning as a necessary component of success and recognize that certain failures along the way are part of the building process.

This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Intelligence and talent become leveraged with a growth in mental capacity. This strengthens the ability to endure the hardship and challenges that will be faced as one matures. A growth mind-set allows for accepting responsibility, embracing challenge, and adapting to change.

Leadership evolves from a growth mind-set and one that is deeply submerged into the pursuit of success and achievement, along with the desire to share and teach. What’s interesting is that leadership ultimately is not measured in terms of the leader’s achievements, but rather is measured in terms of the achievements of the ones the leader influences. To better understand what makes a good leader, it makes sense to realize what allows for influence.

As we grew up, we naturally thought that people were placed in positions of authority, and authority seemed congruent with leadership. Teachers, town officials, police officers, coaches, business owners, and company supervisors are all appointed to a position of authority within an organization. We saw them as leaders until we experienced many along the way unworthy of leadership roles, and we soon realized that a mere appointment does not make for a leadership figure.

Rather, leaders emerge over a period of time as people who demonstrate effective communication and interaction skills; a persistent and diligent thought process; an engaging and genuinely caring interest in others; knowledge and awareness, creativity and passion; and, a vision for future success. These are the personal traits allowing a person to become influential. In its truest form, leadership can only be earned gradually, not assigned nor appointed.

It all begins with developing your own thought process and establishing your mind-set. The ability to lead and influence others will emerge over time for those who show the consistent patterns for effective leadership.


Hans Hanson is the owner of Total College Advisory.