Here are some extra things to think about, and resources to download, to help you Flip Your Mindset.
How to Avoid Derailment
Ask these questions:
- Is success going to my head?
- Am I getting feedback on how I really am?
- How am I receptive to it?
- Are my weaknesses ignored?
- Do I have a good handle on weaknesses I have now?
- Do I have a game plan to fix those weaknesses?
- Am I open to changing?
- Will my strengths as an individual contributor become weaknesses as a leader?
- Am I open to focusing on other things that will be helpful for me now as a leader?
- Am I showing signs of derailment?
- Problems with interpersonal relationships: Do you have difficulties in developing good working relationships with others? Are you arrogant, dictatorial, emotionally volatile, or a bully with everyone?
- Difficulty building and leading a team: Do you have difficulties in selecting and building a team? Can you select people for a team, involve others, and motivate others?
- Difficulty changing and adapting: Are you resistant to change, learning from mistakes, and developing? Can you adapt to the culture of your organization, to other people, to management, and handle pressure?
- Failure to meet business objectives: Do you have difficulties in following up on promises and completing a job? Are you overwhelmed by complexity, self-promoting without results, and can’t meet expectations of your job?
- Too narrow functional orientation: Do you lack depth to manage outside of your current function? Are you ready for more responsibility, or know what other departments do?
Other Things You can Do to Help You Flip Your Mindset
Dweck, Heslin and his colleagues, and others give some really great advice on how to flip your mindset. Based on their “self-persuasion” and similar workshops of others, here’s how you can actually flip your mindset as a new leader:
- Know the Different Scripts. And Know you Can Flip Your Mindset. Hopefully by now, you know that that the script of an individual contributor is much different than the script of a new leader. And, if you want to flip your mindset to that of an effective first-time manager, you can
- When You Hear the Voice from the “It’s not you, it’s me” Script, Shut It Up. When you start something new, like leading others for the first time, maybe you start to hear a voice telling you, “You’ve never been a boss before. Can you do it?” Or, “You’ve never failed at anything. What happens if you fail at this?” Or worse, “You aren’t good at this. There’s no point to flip your script.” When things start to go sideways, we all tend to start focusing more on ourselves, our own talents, and keeping our own egos in check. You may get angry at people who are trying to give you feedback. You may not even acknowledge or accept the feedback. When this happens, recognize the “It’s not you; it’s me” mindset kicking in. And shut it up.
- Seek the Research and Believe It
- Read stories and books about the ability of people to flip or change. These stories could be about any ability, not just leadership. If you’re not into reading, go to YouTube and watch videos and testimonies describing how personal characteristics can change. Find lectures on it through iTunes.
- Learn more about the brain, and the neuroscience of leadership as well. Look up stories or videos about how the brain makes new connections over the lifespan and how the brain keeps growing and changing.
- Learn more through a leadership lens. Find stories or articles of how people, made themselves into great leaders, or bettered themselves in skills like coaching and mentoring others, delegating, or communicating. Read biographies of leaders from any field who were technical experts at the beginning of their careers, but made themselves into great leaders. For instance, in Mindset Dweck tells the story of Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, who had a fixed mindset at first, but flipped it to a growth mindset.
- Generate Ideas. The truth is, our beliefs change when we generate our own arguments and ideas. The most powerful person’s mind to change, in any situation, is your own. So write down reasons why it is important for you as a new leader to change and develop your abilities. You can also take it a step further, and write down why it’s important for the people you lead and serve to change and develop their abilities. What’s in it for them? Then, write down the “so what” or the consequences. What would happen if you did flip your mindset? What would happen if your followers changed and developed their abilities?
- Reflect on your Own Experience. Reflecting on your life experience can be powerful. So, reflect on the following key questions and write down your answers:
- Is there something that, as a new leader specifically, you initially struggled with, but are adequate or even pretty good at now? How did you go from such low ability before to where you are now?
- You probably had some setbacks and failures on your way to being good at this particular ability. What did you learn from those failures? What will you do next time you are in a similar situation?
- Role Play. Pretend that you have to write a letter or email to help one of your struggling direct reports. The subject is about how their abilities can be developed and improved. What would you tell that person? What would you say? Better yet, get a trusted friend or mentor to play the role of the struggling direct report. Role play the conversation face-to-face. Afterwards, get feedback from the other person on how well you did, or how you can improve. In these role play scenarios, think about how you would include your own story of how you overcame something. How could you sympathize, empathize, and bring up a time where you had low ability at something before, but now you are excelling. Maybe it’s the same exact thing the direct report is struggling with.
- Reflect on the Success of Others. Reflect on a time when you thought somebody couldn’t do something. But the person persevered and learned to do it anyway, and do it really well. Maybe there is a person who was in a similar situation as you as a new leader who eventually became a great boss everyone wanted to work for. Reflect on and answer these questions:
- What did the person do to change or flip?
- How did it happen?
- What was there to help the person?
- What does it all tell you about your ability to flip your script?
- If you have the chance to ask the person these questions, even better. Find out what he or she has to say, it could help influence your thinking too.
Remember: You have the choice to flip your script and flip your mindset. You have the choice of interpreting setbacks, challenges, and failures either as something wrong about yourself, or as a chance to learn about something new that is fun, exciting, and intrinsically satisfying to you. Use the science to your advantage. Don’t learn about leadership because it’s about being the best. Learn because it’s fun, exciting, and engaging.
Here are some downloadable materials and job aids for you:
- Want some questions to ask yourself to avoid derailment?
- Want some questions to ask yourself to flip your mindset?
Questions to Ask to Flip your Mindset
- Want some reminders about the type of mindchatter you need?
- Want some reminders about the difference between fixed and growth mindset?