Original article by Glenn Llopis can be found on Forbes.
Employees are tired of being told what to do and just checking the box. So are their leaders – even if they won’t admit it. They are tired of just doing what they are told. By following the same corporate playbook, they have little room to grow and evolve as individuals. They want to do more and be more entrepreneurial. They want their professional goals and those of their organization to be in alignment. The result is most leaders are conflicted, battling the gulf between assimilation to what the corporate playbook dictates and being the authentic and vulnerable leaders their people want and need.
If today’s leaders are responsible to guide business transformation, businesses should not define how leaders act, influence and create momentum in search of future growth. To lead business transformation, leaders must learn how to transform themselves to define the future growth of their businesses.
If organizations truly want their leaders to have growth mindsets, corporate playbooks must give leaders room to grow as individuals and opportunities to influence their organizations’ futures.
What Happens When the Business Defines Individual Leaders?
- Leaders are measured on how well they execute based on how the organization wants them to think, limiting their abilities to best serve the unique needs of the business. In this environment, the individual is being told what to do inside the box they are given. This limits their ability to see, grow and share. They play not to lose. Transformation and a growth mindset is limited. Complacency ensues.
What Happens When the Individual Leaders and Employees Define the Business?
- Leaders have the freedom to be more inclusive. They are rewarded for sharing their wisdom for the betterment of the business. They embrace diversity of thought, appreciate differences and see and seize previously unseen opportunities. They see, sow, grow and share opportunities with courage not complacency. They play to win because they desire to be significant for the betterment of a healthier whole. Possibilities for transformation through a growth mindset are unlimited.
So how do we get there? Here are the 12 crucial leadership traits for creating a growth mindset:
1. Be open-minded
A growth mindset requires leaders to be more inclusive to the unique needs and perspectives of others. Growth requires more than sales and revenue; it requires a clear understanding of human capital assets. It involves learning how to serve the unique needs of the individual clients and/or consumers and the unique needs of employees.
2. Get comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty
Allow risk to be your new best friend. Companies operate in environments where ambiguity and uncertainty are at all-time highs. Leaders must embrace uncertainty and see through the ambiguity to find previously unseen opportunities by taking the time to step back and understand why the ambiguity and uncertainty exist. As they do, it is imperative that leaders bring their people along to ensure they do not fear uncertainty and ambiguity either but embrace it to create momentum and sustain it.
3. Show strong situational awareness
Having situational awareness is the ability to see around, beneath and beyond what you seek. It’s the difference between circular and linear vision. Most leaders don’t have a growth mindset because they are out of touch with the situations at hand — their linear vision gets in the way. They act as if they need to be in control rather than activate the people around them to influence more. Circular vision effectively utilizes the resources and assets of the organization in ways that guide and drive growth opportunities.
4. Have a greater sense of preparedness
Most organizations are not prepared for transformation. They spend millions planning for it yet fail to operationalize it in the workplace and marketplace. That’s because they fail to anticipate the unexpected. They lack the preparedness required to face the strategic implications of the investments and the uncertainty involved in deploying transformation.
5. Have clarity on what others expect from your leadership
A growth mindset is ultimately about thinking differently and taking on new, elevated levels of ownership as a leader. As such, people are watching your every move. They are closely paying attention to decisions you make and why you are making them. They may even be skeptical about them and your ability to solve for the right growth opportunities. Thus, leaders must make sure others understand what they can expect from their leadership. Don’t assume they know. Be clear about the path to growth and the role others play to help the organization get there.
6. Take ownership
Transformation is a fancy term for the ability to reclaim relevancy. Taking ownership is the difference between being relevant and allowing the marketplace to pass you by. A growth mindset demands resiliency and over-delivering value. Don’t tolerate complacency. Leaders who tolerate it release the need for them and others to be accountable which gives the impression that they don’t care enough.
7. Grow with people
The days of people perceiving that their leaders have all the answers is gone. In fact, people feel that their leaders are out of touch with today’s workplace realities, and thus are perpetuating silos as a result of their leaders’ hidden agendas. Today’s leaders must grow with their people. They need to eliminate hierarchy and rank and create environments of greater intimacy in which all people can get to know each other so that they can grow and evolve together. Leaders must then not only value the relationships forged but invest in them to keep earning the trust of others.
8. Seek to eliminate mediocrity and complacency
Mediocrity and complacency gets in the way of growth. What organizations don’t realize is that while they encourage their leaders to have a growth mindset, corporate values and workplace cultures have become so outdated that they make it difficult for the outcomes associated with growth to take root. Those are environments in which mediocrity and complacency are not only tolerated but thrive! Leaders must ensure they eliminate the traps of mediocrity and complacency starting with themselves and knowing what they solve for and then drive the same knowledge through their teams and the organization.
9. Break down silos
Disconnected thinking in the workplace is a sure sign that silos are getting in the way of a growth mindset. A growth mindset sees those silos as barriers to growth. Leaders who are hungry for growth break down silos and seek alignment to connect the dots of opportunity that currently don’t exist. Breaking down silos requires leaders to be more inclusive –allowing others to get in their lanes and the lanes of others. They don’t worry about titles or sharing credit. They welcome it. In fact, they demand that an organization lead more inclusively and that everyone has an entrepreneurial attitude to grow and evolve together.
10. Have a strong executive presence
Executive presence is not about selling a business transaction or showcasing knowledge, capabilities and skill-sets. Executive presence is about a leader’s ability to create a moment – an experience that ignites others to want to know more about them and their businesses. Executive presence requires self-trust, confidence, self-awareness and the ability to navigate the needs of people. It is about earning the right from others over time to explore more meaningful and purposeful business relationships. Simply put, executive presence is not about “you”; it’s about others. ‘
11. Stand for inclusion and promote individuality
Inclusion is a system for making sure organizations are welcoming at every level to every individual. Inclusion is about finding like-mindedness in our differences and embracing individuals’ unique ideas and ideals. Leaders with a growth mindset have a deep desire to do this and lead inclusion and embrace individuality as their primary growth strategy. They understand that if you’re not inclusive enough, then reputation management gets in the way of progress. Do you have an enterprise-wide growth mindset, click here and find out.
12. Want significance more than just success
Leaders that do not desire to be significant care primarily for recognition. Leaders that desire to be significant care primarily for respect. Recognized leaders appeal to the head where things are easily forgotten. Respected leaders captivate the heart – and the heart doesn’t forget. Leaders with a growth mindset desire to be significant, because they want the growth that they create to take the organization to places it has never been before. They want growth to help their organizations evolve.
Leaders with growth mindsets practice all (12) of these traits. Organizations that give them the freedom to do it on their own terms for the betterment of the business are the ones that realize the growth transformation promises.
We are transitioning from a knowledge to wisdom-based economy, it’s no longer just about what you know but what you do with what you know. Allow your leaders to do what they know they can do. Let them out of the box.