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4 Mindset Mistakes Leaders Make

And how to fix them

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

I’ve been speaking, teaching, coaching, and writing about leadership for over a decade and have discovered that leaders who possess these common qualities are far more likely to limit their achievement and potential. When you choose to elevate your self-awareness and upgrade your mindset, your influence and impact will go far beyond what you can imagine. Don’t let these four common mindset mistakes stop you from making your mark. 


Belief that You are Superior

If you let your ego lead, you may be indulging a belief that you are more gifted in the brains, brawn, or beauty areas than others around you. Though you certainly have natural talents and attributes, a sense of entitlement or superiority can significantly limit your progress and potential. Precisely because you believe you are superior, your ego will look for evidence to prove you right and eliminate the opportunity to violate your constructed identity. As a result, you will make less effort and give up more easily when faced with a challenge.

Effective leaders may have natural gifts and talents but they don’t rely on their innate ability to lead. They make more effort than others and strive for constant improvement and growth. They look for ways to create opportunity rather than waiting for what they deserve to fall in their lap.

Work in Isolation

Though it’s important at times to protect your vision from the harsh glare of others, that doesn’t mean you should always do your work in isolation. If you are overly protective of your ideas you end up excluding others from contributing meaningfully to the development of creative solutions, new insight, and expansion of possibilities. When you choose to think, create, and problem solve in isolation or act aloof when criticized, you invite underdevelopment of ideas and missed opportunities.

The best leaders understand that we are better together and know how to accept feedback while developing and utilizing the skills and qualities of others. They nurture community and invite collaboration to improve the quality and direction of their work. They know what they stand for and are able to organize others around their mission and vision.

Blame, Complain, Justification

Have you ever failed to reach a goal and immediately blamed someone or something else for your result? When you spend time justifying why you did or didn’t do something, blaming someone or something else, or complaining about the circumstances that led to your failure, you waste time and energy on what’s already happened and keep yourself stuck in the mindset that success is beyond your control.

Strong leaders don’t waste time blaming others or external factors for results. They accept full responsibility for their own results and use failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. They don’t allow themselves to get sucked into the trap of complaining and instead leverage their energy to identifying new possible solutions or strategies to move forward. They don’t feel the need to justify their situation as they are constantly seeking feedback to help them move forward.

Attachment to Outcomes

We all get attached sometimes, but when your attachment turns to desperation, you get clingy. And nobody likes clingy. When you are desperate for achievement, you’ll mow down children and old ladies to get what you want without a second thought. Your energy repels others and creates a sense of anxiety and fear about what will happen if you don’t get what you want. This need for achievement at any cost stifles your creativity and sends the message to everyone else that you’re only in it for you.

Effective leaders have high energy around their intentions and know what they stand for but they understand that the outcome is a moving target. They aim high and course correct to improve their trajectory but don’t get caught up in whether or not they hit the target head-on. They understand instinctively that if they choose the best target, not meeting it still means achieving incredible results. And if they meet or exceed it, they know what’s possible and aim even higher the next time.

When you develop a leadership mindset, you let go of your ego’s need to look smart and focus instead on the possibility of what you can impact and create if you keep striving for growth and learning. 

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