Are leaders born or made? Many believe some people are born natural leaders, when in fact research tells us this isn't the case. There are key skills you can learn to be a good leader. What does this look like in practice? There are some key principles: accepting mistakes, growing into your role, learning as you go, asking for feedback, being flexible and adaptable in your leadership approach, and believing you can empower others to impact results.
- When it comes to creating leaders, research shows those with a growth mindset show far more potential than those with a fixed mindset. It's such an important part of successful leadership that organizations like Microsoft invest heavily in helping leaders to create a growth mindset. This is because it's an essential ingredient in reaching potential, stretching current abilities, and creating high-performing teams.
In fact, one of the key goals of Satya Nadella who is the CEO of Microsoft is to transform Microsoft's culture into that which values and rewards continual learning and growth. Now, there is a leadership myth that you may have heard. Leaders are born, not made. This concept means you either naturally have the capability and skill to be a leader or you don't. This kind of thinking is opposite to developing a growth mindset.
And actually, research has completely debunked this idea. Some people may find it easier than others to step into a leadership role, but everyone has the ability to develop and hone leadership skills. There are key skills you need to be a good leader. Arguably, the most important being utilizing a growth rather than fixed mindset when leading. What does creating a growth mindset as a leader look like in practice? There are some key principles.
First, reward and encourage learning through trial and error. When leading projects, teams, and developments, you won't always start out with the best solution so testing and trialing approaches is important. The key focus should be on encouraging and rewarding smart risks whether they succeed or not especially if they yield insights that can help the business to move forward. At Pixar Animations, President Ed Catmull has created a culture that not only accepts mistakes and failures, but actually celebrates them.
Second, learn to grow into your role as a leader. As time passes, you'll learn more about the kind of leader you are and the kind of leader you want to be. No one wakes up one day as a leader with all the skills, vision, and abilities they're ever going to require. With a growth mindset, you'll be continually learning and developing as a leader. And that's the positive and humble way to create leadership success. Third, learn as you go and don't wait for all the answers.
If you wait until you know exactly what you're doing before you feel confident in leading others and projects, you'll never be ready. The key is to learn as you go, figuring out next steps along the way. Fourth, ask others for feedback. If you want to get better at anything, you need to seek the perspective of others. You want to know how you come across, what you do well, and where you could develop as a leader. Fifth, be flexible and adaptable in your approach.
Get comfortable with changing your opinions and direction to achieve results. Telling others you won't always have the answers and you're open to new ideas and opinions that may shape the strategy you choose will positively impact how your team see you. It will also empower your team to know they can help you to shape the strategy. As you know, leaders are made, not born. You don't have to be a natural leader. You just need to use the principles that will help you to develop and lead with a growth mindset.
- Define the trap in the “talent trap.”
- Summarize the steps taken in an experimental process.
- Identify the element to avoid in order to develop a truly flexible mind.
- Explain how to maintain focus on developing a growth mindset.
- Recognize the best strategy for creating a life-long learning habit.