When we were writing about a leadership mindset in our most recent white paper we decided to reach out to our biggest and brightest resource pool – our brilliant coaches.
Christine Swift is a coach and facilitator with over 20 years of experience. Her passion is teaching people the mechanics of their minds, and helping leaders understand how their experience is really created, so they can fully experience the best of themselves and others. That’s why she was the perfect person for us to talk to about mindset in leadership.
Christine, how do you see mindset impacting leadership?
Leaders are culture creators – it is one of the most important elements of their role. People look to them for guidance and for them to set the tone. If you want a positive, accountable, learning culture in your organisation, then as a leader that’s what you need to be. And it all starts with adopting the right mindsets, because that is where behaviour, and experience is created.
To contrast, if a leader has a negative or closed mindset, then this will spill out onto the people around them and will have a massive impact on culture and their team. Even if there is just one stressed person in a room, then every other person’s mood and behaviour will shift. People copy far quicker than they obey, so role modelling effective mindsets is the best way to generate the culture you are after.
What some practical first steps that leaders can take, to start evolving new mindsets?
Look into growth mindset. The minute we recognise that we can’t, and shouldn’t, believe everything that we think – well that knowledge is so freeing. It always us to let go of our thoughts because they are no longer so weighty. If we have a thought that we are not good enough, or that we don’t belong, we don’t have to automatically buy in to it and let it affect our mood or behaviour.
I would also tell people to let go of the urge to ‘get better’ – it is exhausting. We are all born whole, creative, resourceful and good enough. Follow your wisdom and curiosity, but let go on the need to be perfect.
Get on a three principles course. This is the biggest gift you can give yourself, and will be a huge step towards harnessing your own wisdom and creativity as a leaders. I can recommend Michael Neill courses as a starting point.
In today’s world, what do you think are the biggest challenges for leaders trying to keep an effective mindset?
There was a time when IQ was the currency in leadership, which means that many leaders are so used to being in their intellect and wanting to be right. But nowadays, good leaders surround themselves with experts and the world is full of sources of knowledge. IQ is no longer the currency it was – but EQ is getting more and more valuable by the year.
Another challenge is that many leaders have a fixed mindset – they believe that what they think is right. But there are 8 billion people on the planet, how can your way of thinking be the only right one?
The truth is, thought and mindset evolve moment to moment. You probably don’t think the same thoughts today that you thought ten years ago – and in ten years that will all have changed again. Even the thoughts you have today versus yesterday will be different. Evolving your mindset is natural – just take ownership for the direction you want it to go in.
It is commonly said that insight often comes from a singular realisation – what is the most important realisation that leaders can have around the importance of mindset?
What we think we feel, and we tend to believe. But our thoughts are not always true, nor are they always helpful or conducive to feeling good. As a leader, understanding this is the most amazing tool – especially in a modern, disruptive, and distracting world.
At Ivy House, we see mindset as absolutely vital for the success of leadership and talent. However, it goes far beyond having a growth mindset versus a fixed one. We believe that your mind is your most powerful tool and the best thing you can do is learn how to use it. So, for more incredible insights like this, check out our latest white paper, which covers the three pillars of extraordinary modern leadership.