According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Most In-Demand Skills report, leadership and management rank highly in the top five skills cited as a key requirement by employers advertising jobs on the platform. It is clear that whether you are in or aspire to work in leadership roles or not, you will need leadership skills and a leadership mindset to be successful in your career.
But how do successful leaders really think? What are their business and professional development secrets, and how can you adapt these principles to your own career to accelerate your progress up the ladder?
Thinking like a leader doesn’t mean imagining that you own a large team and work your way into power. There are eight fundamental principles that underpin a leadership mindset.
Leaders push the envelope
Exceptional leaders make a name for themselves by pushing the boundaries of what seems radically possible. They are not content to settle for the status quo. If anyone says that something cannot be achieved, he seeks to understand why and how the difficulty can be overcome. They are adventurous by nature and push as far as possible until nature itself or circumstances beyond their control say no. When you push perceived boundaries, it results in the creation or evolution of innovative new products and services in new markets that would not have been possible before if you decided to settle in your comfort zone.
Leaders focus on solutions
It’s easy to complain about what you don’t like or what you’d like to see less of in your workplace. But imagine what enormous possibilities could unfold if you pushed the envelope and then proactively developed a solution? Innovation, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving are soft skills highly valued by employers, and you can even use AI to accelerate and spark new ideas as you create and propose solutions at work. Bring your A-game and turn your complaining energy into a proactive, “here’s a suggested approach” action.
Leaders have accountability
As an aspiring leader, it is important to develop your emotional intelligence skills to instill trust in your stakeholders. One of those key skills that prove you have a high level of EQ is accountability. Hold yourself accountable for your work and its results, regardless of the outcome, and take pride in your projects. Own your share of work and strive to master it and understand the most effective and efficient ways to complete your work.
Leaders inspire enthusiasm
As an aspiring leader, your energy should be contagious. It’s easy to end up talking about how terrible the stakeholder meeting was, or how you can’t wait to finish work on Friday or leave early, or how hard it is to get everyone’s consent in the morning team meeting. But what if you took the initiative to turn those conversations into something meaningful and inspiring? What if you instigated change and became a force for positive energy in your workplace? What if you engaged everyone with the company’s vision and helped them achieve their part in the overall vision and mission?
Leaders Lead By Example
A key aspect of having a leadership mindset is remembering that your example and behavior sets the tone for others, whether you know it or not. Take pride in doing your job ethically, set high standards for your own performance, and be someone who maintains unmistakable character and embodies your organization’s values.
Leaders gain new perspectives
You will become stale as a leader if you surround yourself with the same environment day after day. Seek to expand and unleash your creativity by networking with others at your level or higher, learning from them, seeking guidance and training, and seeking new partners to complement you or your organization’s expertise.
Leaders consider the greater good
One characteristic that will define you as a leader is your ability to think outside the box of what you are currently involved in and consider its impact on a larger scale, including external or internal factors that could affect it positively or negatively. These are known as ‘dependencies’. What could be the long-term impact on your workplace, your career, the industry, the economy, the environment and future generations? This level of strategic thinking will set you above the rest who just focus on the day-to-day without considering the future.
Leaders use their voice
As a leader, it’s important to establish your personal brand and unique voice. Become a dominant voice in your industry and lead by sharing your expertise in your field of expertise. Social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to showcase your knowledge and demonstrate your credibility.
Becoming a leader will require a change in mindset before you change into actions or job title. But if any aspect of this mindset is new to you — don’t worry! Be patient with yourself and practice one every day until it becomes part of your daily behavior and second nature.