It’s not such a great challenge to lead when we have a clear direction. It’s when we don’t have enough information, or we’re facing unpredictable outcomes that the six attributes come into their own.
Crucially, that isn’t about the leadership skills we learn; and it’s not about management models. A leadership mindset is a way of looking at the world borne out of our experiences that leads to a set of behaviours.
Growing the Six Attributes
Although leadership isn’t a skill we learn through models, it’s also not a ‘magical’ quality only a few special beings have. A leadership mindset consists of six specific attributes: mindfulness, genuine curiosity, flexibility of mind, resilience, enterprise thinking, and creating leaders.
These attributes are symbiotic—they feed off each other. That’s good news because it means we can start by trying out any one of the attributes and that leads us to another. So let’s take a look at two of the attributes.
Mindfulness is a hot topic these days, especially in business and leadership. And even if it seems like yet another trend it’s actually one I’d encourage anyone to get on board with. So what’s different about mindfulness? If we strip it down to its essence mindfulness is about being fully aware of what’s happening in the present moment.
Mindfulness helps us lead because it gives us the mental clarity to see what’s really happening vs. what our fears or hopes might be telling us should happen. That means we can make decisions in a headspace that’s free from pressure and perceived necessities.
One of the behaviours of mindfulness is self-awareness. And we can practice that in our daily business life. A meeting is a good place to try out self-awareness because it gives us lots of opportunities for being present. My tip: instead of focusing on your own thoughts and planning what you’re going to say next, try focusing on the effect you’re having on the people around you. See if you can notice the impact your words, tone of voice, or body language might be having on the meeting.
Flexibility of Mind
Lots of us have experienced that moment when we’re working on a project and we realise a cherished idea just isn’t going to work. Our realisation often comes because we finally notice (or someone points out) that by holding tight to our “brilliant” idea we’ve made all kinds of unnecessary changes to the project plan. And because of that we’ve gone off track.
Flexibility of mind is about being unattached to particular ideas when it becomes clear they won’t work. One of its behaviours is entertaining the possibility of being wrong. I know that sounds tough. But allowing room for doubt means bigger ideas are possible. Here’s a small tip to get you started: ask yourself if you weren’t so sure you were right, how might you then interrogate your idea as just an idea?
The Journey Starts Here
I get that these are easy things to say and hard things to do. All leadership starts on a personal level. And the journey toward living the six attributes does too.
You can cultivate the six attributes by practising the behaviours whatever your role or stage in your career. It takes effort and practice over time for the attributes to take hold. When they do, it becomes, not so much easier, as a way of thinking. And because the six attributes are a virtuous circle as our leadership mindset grows, we grow the mindset of the people around us.
To get your copy of The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset stop by Crown House Publishing’s stand at F138 or order your copy at Amazon. You can find out more at our website or contact us at email@example.com
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