The Boss Walks Into a Meeting …
As a leader, have you ever walked into a meeting with your team or with a colleague thinking any of these things? “I want to …
- “look good”
- “be right”
- “avoid problems”
- “get ahead”
In his book “Success Mindsets: The Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work and Leadership,” Ryan Gottfredson relates that these are pretty natural thoughts to have. Think about it … Why would you ever go into a meeting with these thoughts? “I want to …
- “look bad”
- “be wrong”
- “encounter problems”
- “get passed by”
Negative Thinking and Mindset
The sad fact is that the desire to look good, be right, avoid problems and get ahead are all associated with negative mindsets. Why are they negative? They are negative because they are self-focused. They are negative because they can cause a leader to be in “self-protection mode” rather than “organization advancement mode”.
All leaders are susceptible to these negative desires. “We all tend to think,” says Gottfredson, “that how we see the world is the best way to see the world.” And the way we think determines the way we behave.
Dismal Leadership Stats
Here are some statistics from a recent employment study that seem to support the idea that lots of leaders are behaving badly in self protection mode:
- 44% of employees say their manager doesn’t help them to be more productive
- 60% report that their manager damages their self esteem
- 65% of employees would rather have a different manager than more pay
- 82% of employees do not trust their manager to tell the truth
These dismal numbers show that the majority of employees are not managed in a way that brings out their best. How could this be happening? Leaders aren’t trying to be jerks. They perceive the world in a way they think is best … but is actually sub-par.
Reward vs. Responsibility
I mentioned in last week’s newsletter a new book called “The Motive” by Patrick Lencioni. He also seems to be getting at similar ideas as he contrasts reward-focused leadership (self-focused) with responsibility-focused leadership (other-focused).
Breaking out of Self-Protection Mode
Here’s a summary of Gottfredson’s antidote for self-focused desires and behaviors along with tools and disciplines you can use to achieve optimal mindsets.
Rather than seeking to look good, seek to learn and grow. In my work as a coach and EOS Implementer, I see teams reinforcing their growth mindset as they create and focus on their Vision. The “8 questions” on the Vision/Traction Organizer keep them focused on their Core Values, Core Focus and long-term and near-term goals. All of these drive a business to continue learning and growing.
Rather than seeking to be right, seek to find the truth. One important place I help teams find the truth is in the methodology for Issue resolution. When a team gets to “IDS®“ in their weekly Level-10 meeting, they engage in some intense truth seeking. Challenging each other to “Identify” the core issue, “Discussing” possible solutions, and moving on to “Solve” the issue for the greater good of the business.
Rather than seeking to avoid problems, seek to reach goals. As the teams I work with identify important measurables for the business and track them weekly on a Scorecard, and as they report on the status of their quarterly Rocks, they are developing the muscle of reaching goals.
Rather than seeking to get ahead, seek to lift others. One of the key concepts we talk about with teams implementing EOS is that leaders must “Delegate and Elevate.” This means keeping your eyes open to the Unique Ability® of everyone in the company and “letting go of the vine”. When you seek to lift others, you bring them growth and fulfillment, and enable yourself to “elevate” more fully into your own Unique Ability.
The First Step to Doing Better
The difference between great leadership and dismal leadership starts with your thinking. As we become more aware of our thoughts, beliefs and desires we can take the opportunity to optimize them. Since we are all susceptible to the negative desires of looking good, being right, avoiding problems and getting ahead, I invite you to confidently lean into the tools and disciplines of the EOS Model to escape negative mindsets and support your optimal mindset. As you do so, you will naturally move from self-protection mode to organization-advancement mode!
Here’s to the advancement of your organization!
Coach, Facilitator, Speaker
Professional EOS Implementer