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How your mindset impacts your leadership practice

Toby is leading a team of six people. Overall, Toby’s team is fairly new to his organization and his people require quite a lot of his time to coach and develop. Plus, Toby’s manager is fairly demanding and has very high expectations. Toby shared with me how stressed out he is as a result of his workload and the general demands of the business.

So, in our coaching conversation, Toby and I talked about various strategies that he can implement to prioritize, stay focussed and delegate to his team. Then the conversation took a turn. About a month ago, I had asked Toby to read the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. We started talking about the topic of mindset and how it might be adding to Toby’s stress. I offered a suggestion to Toby. I said, let’s focus on two things over the next month. Let’s focus on all the tactical goals that we set around prioritization and delegation and let’s also focus on a goal related to his mindset. Toby loved this balanced approach.

For all of us, our mindset is comprised of our thoughts and beliefs. So, Toby and I started to discuss his thoughts. I asked him to share with me the most common thoughts that he has every morning when coming into work. They were:

  • “Work is always so stressful.”
  • “I have too much on my plate and I’m going to be overwhelmed again today.”
  • “Everyday something goes wrong. I wonder what will go wrong today.”

After hearing these thoughts, I told Toby that I was not surprised that he was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed all the time. Our mindset can definitely impact our stress levels and even our confidence. We then set out to develop three new thoughts which would allow Toby to feel more positive and centred every day. Toby came up with the following thoughts:

  • I love being organized. I have a great plan for today. I feel in control.
  • I am lucky to have such a great team. They are developing more and more each day.
  • I am a very resilient person and can handle any challenges that may arise today.

Toby’s initial set of beliefs and mindset are definitely not rare. I chat with leaders daily who lack confidence, suffer from the imposter syndrome, or constantly have negative thoughts that increase their stress levels. So, now that you have read this blog, I have an assignment for you.

Your assignment:

Start noticing your thoughts. Notice how these thoughts make you feel. Since negative thoughts add to your stress level, consciously replace them with more positive ones.

Since you set the tone as a leader, you need to be putting out some positive energy at work. That is part of your job. After all, no one wants to work with a negative Nelly or pessimistic Peter! Don’t be THAT person!!

Feel free to respond to this email and let me know:

  • What are the top three negative thoughts that you are having these days?
  • How do these thoughts impact you?
  • What positive thoughts can you leverage instead to be more effective?

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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