False Beliefs About Leadership

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There are many false beliefs about leadership.  Just last week, I was sitting with a newly appointed director and it quickly became clear that the company he left was being brought with him to this new position.  Not literally of course, yet there was a set of beliefs about the current situation that was being filtered through the lens of his past.

We all struggle with our biases or assumptions that a new position will be without the drawbacks of the old.  It is more critical for him  as a new leader to come in seeking to understand vs. to be understood and avoid the temptation to project his past experiences onto the new.

My point is that he was using the negative aspects of his previous role and assuming that this would be the case in the new.  He needed a new foundation to push against his false beliefs about leadership.

This drove me to write this blog to share with you what are the foundational beliefs or mindsets for the best leaders.  The symptoms section will inform you of whether you are struggling with your beliefs.

Foundational Belief #1:  Assumed Goodwill:  Assumed goodwill immediately puts a leader in the position of viewing others at a place of success, positivity, plenty and good.  The opposite of assumed goodwill is assumed distrust.  If you operate out of assumed goodwill you do not need to mind read their intentions, their abilities or competency.  You also start at a place of trust vs. distrust.

Symptom(s): If you are in your head either analyzing a decision or concerned about your overall popularity in a group then you are struggling with the concept of assumed goodwill.  Suspicion of others intentions puts you at a deficit vs. a place of abundance.

Foundational Belief #2:  Power of Inclusion: The days of dictatorial leadership are gone.  The days of inclusion are in.  Gary Hamel speaks of the importance of including others in the work strategy vs. telling them what to do.  After all, what kind of result do you expect if you simply tell people what to accomplish vs. helping them discover it for themselves?  Inclusion is about receiving feedback, input and contribution from others to help inform a positive change or new direction.

Symptom(s):  You feel that including others would be a threat of your leadership.  You fear the feedback of others and find yourself commonly defensive.  You are trying to protect your career vs. standing for results.

Foundational Belief #3:  Differentiation:  Differentiation is an understanding of where you start and stop in a relationship, on a team and in the company.  A well differentiated leader is able to maintain a strong sense of vision, purpose and direction, while not owning the anxiety, insecurity and struggles of others.   The belief is that your vision, strengths and skills are enough for today.

Symptom(s):  You find yourself infected by others anxiety.  You struggle to take a strong stand based on values in an emotional system. You are allowing a previous story or experience to be told in the current experience.

As a new director or leader, you need these foundational beliefs to help you influence your business in a positive way. To finish the story from above, this new director found these beliefs insightful and was unaware of how his false beliefs may have been impacting his leadership.  False beliefs create excessive drag and impact your effectiveness.