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Why mindset is so important in leadership

Welcome to week three of our 3-month series called: 


Learn the 3-pillars of leadership success.

Today we will continue with the first pillar called “Know Yourself” and discuss why mindset is so important to leadership.

I have met many leaders over the years who lack confidence.

For example, one leader recently said to me, “Vanessa, I don’t think that I’m a good leader.”

Now, this leader is very articulate and intelligent, so her comment surprised me. I asked her, “What makes you think you are not a good leader?”

She said, “Well, there are so many aspects of my leadership role that I don’t do well. I tend to avoid giving feedback. I prefer doing the work myself rather than delegating, and I can’t find the time to coach my team.”

The reality is that every leader finds part of their role to be rewarding and other parts to be challenging. This experience is normal.

But before this leader could start developing the gaps in her leadership skills, she had to work on developing her mindset. 

Your MINDSET can affect your successShe had to shift to a “growth mindset.”

The term “growth mindset” was coined by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck. Dweck explains that if you have a growth mindset, you understand that nothing is set in stone. Rather, you know that you can grow and develop with hard work.

In a nutshell, your mindset is your beliefs.

So, if you believe that you are a bad leader, this perspective will limit your success.

Conversely, if you believe that all leaders have strengths and weaknesses (which is true!), then you can move into action and focus on developing your specific leadership gaps.

I discussed the growth mindset with this leader and then asked her a few key questions to help her shift her perspective and leverage a growth mindset. I adopted these questions for you into a mini assessment seen below. 

Here are 4 key questions that you can ask yourself to assess if you are leveraging a growth mindset: 

  1. Do you see criticism as an attack on your character or as an opportunity to confront your challenges and work on developing them? 
  2. Do you give up when you are not good at something or lean into the discomfort and work hard at developing this skill or behavior? 
  3. Do you beat yourself up when you make a mistake, or do you see your mistake as an opportunity to grow and learn?
  4. Do you ruminate over problems and setbacks, or do you see setbacks as a normal part of life and a chance to develop yourself?

If you resonate with the second half of each statement above, you are adopting a growth mindset

Your goal moving forward is not to be perfect. 

Rather, your goal is to be kinder to yourself and shift to a growth mindset when you are self-sabotaging. 

So, please never label yourself a “bad leader.” While you likely have some leadership gaps you need to develop (as we all do), this belief will limit your success. 

Instead, focus on nurturing a growth mindset and developing yourself incrementally each month, each quarter, and each year!   

Ready for some one-on-one coaching to work on some of your leadership gaps? Reach out any time at

By the way, do you have any colleagues or team members that could benefit from this 3-month series?

If so, send them this article. They are welcome to register here.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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