Leadership mindsets

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Effective Teams, Leadership

I believe that most people are capable of leading, and an important part of leadership is mindset. How leaders view themselves and those around them will impact their leadership effectiveness. As you read this blog, I encourage you to consider your mindset and the mindset of your team members.

McGregor’s Theory of X and Y

Douglas McGregor was a management professor at MIT who developed theories of motivation and management. Theory X assumes that employees are not motivated and do not enjoy work. Employees seek jobs for security reasons rather than personal fulfillment. If you follow Theory X, you will most likely use an authoritarian approach to leadership. Theory Y assumes that employees like work and have intrinsic motivation. The proper environment will help employees be successful and enjoy their job. Those who ascribe to Theory Y will be more likely to use a coaching approach to leadership which has been found to be a more successful practice. As we consider mindsets, it is appropriate for us to reflect on whether we ascribe to Theory X or Y. 

Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck has achieved fame teaching and writing about fixed and growth mindsets. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence is fixed or static. As a result, those with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges and believe they are simply unable to do certain things due to their limited abilities. Those with a growth mindset view intelligence as something that can grow or be developed. When they encounter obstacles or criticism, they learn and improve from the experience. As leaders, we can model a growth mindset to those around us. We can show that we all have the ability to change and improve. In addition, we can recognize the growth of those around us. Our organizations will be more successful if employees embrace a growth mindset. 

Paranoia vs. Pronoia

I don’t think I had heard of pronoia before I read John Lee Dumas’s book The Common Path to Uncommon Success. Pronoia is considered the opposite of paranoia: “Whereas a person suffering from paranoia feels that persons or entities are conspiring against them, a person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good.” (Wikipedia) How we view the world shapes the way we lead, the relationships we develop, and our willingness to take risks. Are you overly pessimistic or optimistic?

Scarcity vs. Abundance

A scarcity mindset forces people to take care of themselves and can lead to feelings and actions of desperation. In comparison, an abundance mindset helps us be more generous. People that display generosity are more likeable and perceived as more competent. When we operate from scarcity, that can result in more scarcity due to it being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Abundance can lead to giving more and ultimately receiving more in return.

How do the mindsets listed above relate to your role as a leader? Leaders who focus on their mindset will lead more effectively and can help shape the mindsets of their team members through intentional conversations, coaching, and training. 

We provide leadership training and coaching services that can help leaders develop the mindset needed to be successful. In addition, we can help teams become more cohesive through group training and facilitation. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us