Over the past several years, I have been studying future directions in leadership development. It is clear that being versatile and agile is the name of the game. This is not only required in how we build our organizations; it is also required in how we build ourselves. No longer is there a list of clear, precise and required skillsets that will guide you to leadership success. In an environment that is rapidly changing, the practice of leadership needs to be just as adaptive.
What makes for a more adaptable leader? It starts with the mindsets you hold. Because mindsets guide our behaviors, recognizing and shifting them is the pathway to versatility.
The notion of mindset is being thrown around a lot lately. But what is a mindset really? My research indicates that it is a way of thinking that ultimately impacts our way of behaving and is shaped by our assumptions, beliefs and at the deepest level, our identity. This is why mindset can be so hard to change - it has grown up with us, shaping how we understand who we are.
It can also be hard to see. That is why any effort to understand what mindsets are driving your behaviors requires foremost the act of self reflection. Yet, self awareness can be tricky. It is hard to see ourselves without a mirror.
How then can we get to know our mindsets?
First, look at your assumptions. With regularity, ask yourself: What assumptions am I making in this situation and why?
Second, seek insight from others. Ask trusted advisors: What are you seeing about me that I cannot see myself?
Third, reflect on what you value. In moments of frustration, ask yourself: Which of my values is being rubbed up against?
To decode your mindsets requires the practice of asking questions that will lead you to new insights about yourself. It is a discovery process that through practice can become second nature. Those leaders who I have talked with that are good at continuously adapting are always in a state of inquiry-- not just about the business context around them but also into the inner landscape that shapes their choices. For more leadership versatility, know your mindsets.