Best Boss Minute | The 4 Most Important Things a Leader Can Do (Part 3)

Today’s Question:

“What are the most important things that a leader can do?”

— Wondering in Wichita

In our last two posts, we talked about the importance of defining reality and staying in a systems perspective. Now we’ll build on those two principles with the idea of mindset – having the right kind of mindset to be the most effective leader.

Here are what I believe to be some of the most important mindset shifts for leaders and how you might use them. 

1. Promote Success

We talk about promoting success as the opposite of avoiding failure. Staying in the positive of promoting success is asking: What are you doing well and how can we do more of that? How can we get more of what’s needed in order to meet the objective? Whereas avoiding failure is much more about being careful: Don’t do this, don’t do that. We don’t want to make that mistake! Both are appropriate, but the mindset that I want you to have, and that I really want you to nurture for yourself and for your people, is around promoting success as opposed to avoiding failure.

2. Gifts and Opportunities ALWAYS

Recognition comes from the work that I do around Positive Intelligence®. If you’re new to me, be sure you check out the Positive Intelligence Bootcamp on my website, and you’ll get a real sense of what the Positive Intelligence framework is. I use it with all my clients. I use it with myself. And one of the things that come from Positive Intelligence is the mindset of recognizing there is a gift and an opportunity in every challenge

There’s a real discipline to this mindset. It’s a shift in beliefs that I want to invite you to keep an eye on. Even though we don’t always think there’s a gift and an opportunity in the challenge when it’s presenting itself, with time and a little bit of thinking about this, we can start to see there is something here – something we can work on. There is always a gift and an opportunity, and it usually comes in the form of knowledge, power, or inspiration. So think of it that way. The next time you face a challenging situation or relationship, pull out of that for a moment. Go into a systems perspective. Get a balcony view, and ask yourself, what is the gift I’m getting here, even though it’s a pain in the butt? What is the gift that I am receiving here? The gift and the opportunity. And again, it might be helpful to think of it in terms of knowledge, power, inspiration. 

3. Pull, Don’t Push

The last mindset shift I want to encourage you to try is the idea of pulling as opposed to pushing. So what do I mean by that? Oftentimes when we are leading our people, we are pushing them forward. We’re saying just do more or just do it right. We push them into the work they need to do, or we push ourselves in.

There’s so much more power in the idea of pulling people, of moving toward something as opposed to away from something. So whenever you can frame your activities, your day, the expectations you have for your folks, see if you can stay in that mindset of I want to bring you along. What can we do to incentivize, what can we do to motivate? What can we do to bring you forward? As opposed to the push of getting out of this particular time and just moving into the next time. There’s something really subtle, beautiful, and powerful about pulling as opposed to pushing. 

Watch for next week’s post when we’ll wrap up our “What are the most important things a leader can do?” Q&A.

About Danny

With over 20 years experience in training and leadership development  — and holding an MBA and an MA in Organizational Development — Danny Ceballos has worked with organizations across the country to strengthen their effectiveness in leading and managing others through supervision+motivation best practices and strategies.