As a leader in an organisation, there were many times when I led from an expansive mindset. I was visionary, grounded, inclusive, focused and inspired. I got results and empowered others. I felt in tune with who I was and what I was about.
I also had times when I led from a limited mindset – constrained, overcome by challenges, keeping things tight, conditioned to respond by the circumstances, keeping myself hidden.
This is true for all of us. We are never always leading expansively – and being able to recognise this, work out where we are leading from, and have the steps clear to get back to expansive is really helpful.
This framework is a simple diagnostic for which mindset you might be leading from at a certain time, and what to focus on.
If below the line, you are leading from Doubt or Habit. (And if that’s you, don’t worry – we’ve all been at both of these places!)
When you DOUBT, you second guess yourself, not sure if you are in the right team or organisation. You doubt your abilities. You lead from lack – of confidence, experience, time, motivation… It takes a lot of effort to execute well as the focus and determination isn’t there. To move from DOUBT, you need to DECIDE – that you can lead, show up powerfully, and are in the right place.
HABIT is still leading with a limited mindset, and even experienced managers and leaders are found here. This is when you lead with what you know and are known for. You react in the way you always have. You don’t want to get things wrong. Change is risky. At HABIT, focus on EXPLORE. Try new things and experiment. Failing offers new data for growth.
INSIGHT brings us above the line and into an expansive mindset.
It is the awareness critical for effective leadership. You learn that you are more capable than you think, and that you can grow and change. You can see some of your conditioning, and the mindsets that keep you constrained and small.
If you find yourself at INSIGHT, which can happen when we’ve read a great book or done a workshop that has us go aha!, then you must focus on ACTION that is inclusive and future orientated. Otherwise the insight without this type of action sends you back down into your habitual way of leading.
At IMPACT you are achieving great things. You are accountable, effective and responsible. You’re rocking it! At this level the focus should now be on how you LEAD. This might sound counter-intuitive. I mean, isn’t IMPACT all about effective leadership? Yes and no. Here, reframe leadership from the egoic to the servant. Lead with courage, generosity and the mission in mind.
EXCELLENCE is the hallmark of a high performing leader and team. The focus here is on LEGACY and contributing powerfully to a mission that outlives you. By empowering and mobilising the leadership of people around you, you create movements. You access leverage. You become the single flame that lights a thousand candles. Your contribution shapes the hearts, minds and actions of others.
The interesting thing is that these leadership mindsets are not static. I have definitely led from each of these 5 modes at different times. I have been a leader of EXCELLENCE, but over time and without even noticing, I began to lead out of HABIT and what was expected of me, and the path required me moving through the cycles of growth, exploring, awareness etc so I could go back to leading with an expanded mindset.
I see this in many of the execs I coach. Without catching the fall into a limited mindset even the most amazing leader can then find themselves in DOUBT – am I in the right organisation? Can I do this? And then unchecked we have great people even leave.
The key is to keep noticing and being aware of your activity, and then the corresponding focus. Don’t think you can get from DOUBT and catapult to IMPACT without going through HABIT and INSIGHT. Each activity has its benefit, and each has the thing to focus on to be able to expand your leadership mindset.
So where are you currently sitting? Are you leading out of HABIT, and have gotten a bit stale and safe? Are you leading at EXCELLENCE? If so keep revisiting INSIGHT and the new actions you need to take on to keep growing.
Helping teams and execs lead with an expansive mindset is something I do. If you’d like to have a chat about how this might look for you let me know. I’d love to help. You can make a time that works through this link.
Till next week,
With much love