The MINDSHIFT Leader
By: Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND
We do not see leadership as a title. To us, leadership is a way of being, and a way of living. It’s in how you communicate with others and how you conduct yourself. We all have the capacity to lead, but not all of us do. Leadership is about self-awareness, vulnerability, trust, and then influence. This is who a MINDSHIFT Leader is! MINDSHIFT Leaders know priority must be placed on their commitment towards positive personal and interpersonal growth.
Here are a list of three tools to help you mindfully grow your capacity to become a great MINDSHIFT Leader.
- Lead with Emotional Intelligence
Oxford Definition: The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is where the journey towards great leadership begins, and self-awareness is the first step. As psychologist and author, Daniel Goleman, writes in his book What Makes A Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters, EI is twice as important as IQ for leaders. For leaders to be successful, EI is a skill that must be part of their portfolio. EI does not depend on a style of leadership or personality type, but rather on a recognition in one’s emotions, behaviours, and the outcome they generate.
From the brain’s perspective, building the EI muscle is a must. The brain’s emotional centres have massive control over all of our thoughts and actions. Your ability to manage your executive brain functions (understanding, recalling, making decisions, inhibition of thoughts and actions, and memorization) will, undoubtedly, be in jeopardy when you are in emotional overdrive. However, the goal is not to try to evade strong emotions, but rather to understand them, learn how to work with them, and ultimately translate them into positive solutions. Try asking yourself these questions to strengthen your emotional intelligence so you can demonstrate your leadership when it is required.
Q: Think of a challenging situation – can you name the emotion(s),1 to 3, you are experiencing? How is your behaviour changing due to these emotions? What impact is this change in behaviour having on the situation or the other people involved? If applicable, what might the others be experiencing in this situation? With this awareness now available to you, how would you change your response to the challenge? How would this bring you closer to the desired end goal?
- Lead with Social Connection
Remember, we are wired to connect! If your field of work requires interaction with at least one other human being, then it would do you well to learn how to develop this skill. MINDSHIFT Leaders look for all opportunities to use this hard wired truth to propel the team forward. They spend the time creating an environment of inclusiveness, respectful dialogue, and appreciation of colleagues because they know it makes a difference for their business – emotionally, culturally, creatively and financially. Develop your interpersonal connectedness by asking yourself these questions.
Q: How would your team/colleagues rank your ability to create an inclusive, respectful, and appreciative work environment? How can you add more value in these areas? What more could you and your team accomplish if you created this type of work environment?
- Lead with Motivation
In his very popular TED Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation, Daniel Pink sheds some much needed light on the subject of motivation in the workplace. He argues that the psychology of motivation teaches us that the carrot and stick model is an outdated form of leadership. He also demonstrates that the science is largely ignored. These findings are of major importance for a MINDSHIFT Leader.
Pink argues, once adequate and fair pay is agreed upon, self-direction becomes the most important driver of motivation and engagement. Great leaders understand the need to actively shape the environment to support their team’s intrinsic motivators: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
- Autonomy: The urge to direct one’s own life and the ability to create from a space of self propelled discovery.
- Mastery: The urge to become better at something that matters and the enjoyment of the challenge that comes with it.
- Purpose: The urge to be of service for something bigger than just ourselves.
Q: What factors in your control would increase your team’s intrinsic motivators? What actions can you take to implement these changes?
The MINDSHIFT Leader
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you need to have all the answers, but it does mean you are willing to listen to your team for them.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you should only issue commands to your team, but it does mean you can inspire and motivate them into action.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you have to be feared, but it does mean you have to earn respect.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you can never admit to failure, but it does mean being strong enough to admit your challenges and dedicate yourself to growing from them.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you have the loudest voice, but it does mean when you speak your team is willing to listen.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean you look to blame others when issues come up, but it does mean you look for solutions and a way to benefit your team.
- To be a MINDSHIFT Leader does not mean everyone has to answer to you, but it does mean your team is willing, and even excited, to collaborate with you.
All of the above statements have to do with focusing on constructive action, follow-through, and positive solution-focused behaviour. Your team cannot, and will not, reach their full potential if you are not willing to model these MINDSHIFT Leader qualities.
Show your team, and the world, that you are a MINDSHIFT NINJA.