Ten Radical Shifts in Thinking all Leaders Face
Leaders fail when they don’t think like leaders.
Leaders who think like individual contributors demoralize their team and devalue their leadership.
Lousy leaders think like individual contributors.
10 radical shifts in thinking:
- From “I” to “we.” Leadership begins with we.
- From controlling people to aligning passions. Raise your hand if you enjoy being controlled. I didn’t think so. Successful leaders align the passions of their teammates with organizational mission.
- From complexity to simplicity. The courage to cut away at complexity until simplicity emerges is a rare gift. Most just muddle through. Some leaders enjoy the feeling of importance that complexity creates. But, any fool can make something complex. Leaders simplify.
- From who is right to what is right. In one sense leadership isn’t personal at all. The issue is the issue. It doesn’t matter who comes up with solutions. The person who screwed up last week, may be this week’s genius.
- From talking “at” to talking “with.” Engagement requires “with.” The more you talk “at” the more you lose “with.”
- From right and wrong to better and best. Complex issues have more than one answer. Usually, there is no “right” solution.
- From symptoms to causes. The reason you’re always putting out fires is you haven’t addressed the root issue.
- From feeling confused to pursuing clarity. Most people don’t have the discipline or endurance to bear the frustration of pursuing clarity. They just want to get something done.
- From how can I step in to how can I step out. Fixers struggle to make room for others. Stepping in means you’re in the way.
- From receiving praise to giving it.
Bonus: From telling to coaching.
What shifts in thinking do leaders make?
What shifts in thinking are most challenging for leaders?
Well, #1. Just a wee bit farther…..leadership begins with THEM and their WHY.
#2. Realizing controlling others is a farce, getting folks to comply temporarily is NOT leading. One is pushing them, they are not following. Next part, aligning passions, sounds like connecting whys, spot on.
Love #5, 6, 7!!!!
Bit of a shaky start but you hit your groove Dan.
Thanks for getting my brain warmed up for the day.
SP to the oxy factory
Thanks Scott. Glad to serve.
I think #2 & #9 are closely aligned to what is likely the hardest transition for a manager to make in becoming a leader. Letting go of control and stop being in the way of what people on the team are trying to get done. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed such a transition personally but I’d bet it’s happened to someone somewhere at sometime.
Usually it takes an existing or new pain in their lives to dig deep and make those kinds of internal, personal changes. I would proffer that it’s most likely to happen when someone they respect has the courage and integrity to step in and say, “Look dude, it’s time for a change. How can I help?”
Thanks James. You are so right. Leaders often resist the change until they wear themselves out and get to the end of the rope! As you indicate, it’s often pain that gets us to the point of changing our thinking and hence our behavior.
Yo James, sobered up coming up on 30 years in May, on the 22nd.
Change like that, just so you know has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do from advice from a respected person.
Real, honest to goodness change in the real world, not the theoretical…..all comes from within. Nothing outside matters, nothing.
When a person simply is sick and tired of being sick and tired, they become wling to go to any length for different.
People who are obese, diet like yoyo’s and it does not work.
They look in the mirror and are disgusted, then, no more. Those people who succeed at this point make a life change, better diet, raw foods included I hope and exercise the whole lifestyle change ball of wax.
Just sharing my experience that nothing outside, nothing entices change.
It is an internal job and not getting that leaves open to blaming that outside source when folks do not follow through, if you get what I am saying.
Successful people succeed by taking 100% of the response-ability of their decision.
Got to close the barn door 100% or the ego will try to place blame for the failure to follow through elsewhere.
Anyway just my opinion based on my life changing experience. I also did it with diet. Was not fat, just blood sugar and cholesterol and what not almost killed me cause of a lousy lifestyle.
Now I raw food juice 2 times a day and never felt better.
Might be useful to ponder thoughts from people with experience changing and not listening to theorists who write about it but have never actually done anything like it themselves.
SP back to oxy production
Good points Scott. There has to be that inner drive/pain to change and at least the beginning of the urge to change something. I have been influenced in my own past to change though through being very lucky to have a few friends that had the courage to quietly tell me I had something I should consider correcting (the key is to do it in a time of calm, not fear/flight). It was not as critical as alcohol abuse but more about how I was treating others with disdain or disrespect at times.
“Response – ability” …my new mantra.
A Brilliant visual.
I believe number 5 is not only applicable to leadership but to communication with your family, children and spouse specifically. As a parent it is easy to talk at your children but forget as they grow to talk with them because we want them to become leaders also. For your spouse, this is a fine line that sometimes I fail. What a poignant reminder.
Thanks KaRee. Isn’t it funny how “with” changes everything. In my world, humility is essential to move from “at” to “with.” Best wishes.
Good morning Dqn This is a great list for leaders to reflect on to keep thier compass on true north. Your last several blogs make one thing perfectly clear, putting people first is the foundation of true leaderehip. Our talents, skills, abilities and accomplishments can thrust us into leadership positions. The opportunistic leader uses thier position to identify solid performance and empower thier people and their teams, inspiring them, teaching them, helping them to realize thier true potential. Cheers Dan
Just catching up with the national news on fox. Thier interviewing ‘Centurians’. Each are asked the secret to a successful satisfying life,, thier answer, “HELP OTHERS”!!!
Thanks Steve. Thanks for highlighting “people first.” Is there any other way to be a leader? 🙂
PS… love the “Help Others” approach. If you want to matter do things that make the life of others better.
Dan. Thanks for a great piece. I work with leaders in the field of Project Management. And one of the key aspects of PM is to take complex problems and tasks and simplify it into manageable simple smaller tasks, so number 3 resonates with me by default. Thanks again!
Thanks Coenie. The only way to move complex issues/projects forward is to create simple small tasks. Great add!
I find that small progress can be looked down on by people who want to do “big” things and make “big” progress. Rejecting small progress often results in stagnation.
Excellent, Dan. Nothing to add but a sincere “thank you”.
And, thank you to you, Marc!
A good leader lets others shine.
Thanks Yan. Takes humility doesn’t it.
I agree to your points that leaders face in radical shifts. I to We is very important that leaders shift. When they believe in I, they more compete with individuals. They even compare and tend to differentiate. I think it is important to shift mindset. Leaders have different mindsets than individual around. They think bigger, they think for others and their focus is to make bigger impact.
And this is the most challenging shift for leaders. It is so because they need to challenge their believe. It takes harder effort and pain to change the mindset. Even if it is not, it is hard to change behavior and think differently. For example, when people reach to the top position, they tend to carry same mindset that they used to have. It is quite natural as well because they believe that those qualities have made them to reach such position.
It is very easy to become powerful, show powerful after getting position in the system but it is even more difficult to show powerless and empower others. And to become, we need people with the mindset of empowering rather than garnering power.And ultimately this is nothing but changing and challenging set minds.
Thanks Ajay. “Challenge your belief” … think, “I could be wrong” … listen to and encourage dissent. Boom
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. Lot’s of gold in here. In particular, 4. From who is right to what is right. Channeling the need to BE right is the challenge. Also 6. From right and wrong to better and best. However, don’t let “best” get in the way of “better.” Thanks, Dan.
…that is, channeling AWAY from the need to BE right.
Thanks Steven. “don’t letter best get in the way of better…. brilliant
Reblogged this on Leading by Serving and commented:
Great post on shifting out of the traditional views of self-centered leadership! Enjoy!
I think it also incorporates the shift from thinking tactically to strategically.
Aim high, shoot low… keep the long vision in sight and at the same time watch your daily step.
Thanks billgncs and doc. It’s easy to get lost in one or the other.
I agree with you here. Who, amongst the leaders you know, embodies these the most?
Everyone I know is still on a journey. Some are better in one area than another. It really depends on the situation.
All good points.
I would add “From doing to empowering.” It is not what the leader does but what the leader empowers others and the team to do.
Also, “From being served to serving”
Bingo! Thanks Ken
This explains why so few people like working with me. Or, to reframe things in a more positive light, this is an instruction manual on how to make more people want to fix the stuff I am forever fixing.
Several leaders in my company use me as a utility to rapidly fix ugly situations. In the process, I get beat up and bullied. My strength is that I am so used to bullying, I just keep going. The one that stuck with me was stepping out instead of stepping in. I need to start doing more of that.
Thanks dunkablog. Stepping out so others can step in is a real challenge for many leaders. Some of us to too far. We step out and people feel like they are hung out to dry. The better option is to step out and remain available.
It’s interesting and exciting that people tend to rise up when we get out of the way. Best wishes.
I think #8 is quite tricky. Especially corporate leaders where results are always expected from them. They tend to settle for seen results without getting to the root of the problem. As a leader, it is always important not to get lost along the process.
This article is an eye opener for all of us. Thanks for sharing your thought Dan!
Thanks cheysrrdelacruz. The tension between quick, short-term results and long-term success also comes to play. One way to know that the time it takes to pursue clarity is worth it has to do with the frequency of the issue. If it’s a once and done then it’s not worth the time. But, if there are long term benefits to taking a longer time up front then go for it. Of course, we need management that understands the issues and the benefits of being slow up front so we can go fast later.
Reblogged this on Movers, Shakers, Leadership Makers.
Dan, I know you have an “author archive” of your posts by date. Is there an indexed version of them by topic or subject matter? Thanks, Scott Butler
Hi Scott. Other than for key words and categories, no. I am planning to put out something that combines topics… thinks like everything I’ve written on meetings or tough conversations, or motivation…. stay tuned.
Another for your list- I am careful to introduce my workmates to others as working WITH me, not FOR me, even when I am clearly their superior! Thanks for the post and reblog Dan. Excellent stuff!
Thanks Joe. It’s the small things like this that make a big difference.
I think one of the toughest shifts for leaders is #1. That I to WE can be so difficult for leaders to grasp. It seems paradoxical thanks to all the teaching that I build a great team rather than it’s the parts that make the team great.
Thanks Joseph. I started my leadership journey thinking “me.” The shift was hard for my ego. I keep learning the “we” lesson.
One of the best Blogs on the net. Thank-You
Reblogged this on THE PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECT and commented:
Great Blog For Leaders!!
I’m a school Principal down in Sydney, Australia. Love the conversation that this one has bought with it. And I agree with just about all. Perhaps a small summary of the points is that leadership is not about the leader.
Bingo! It’s odd to say that leadership sin’ about the leader. In sense it is and another it isn’t. But, I think we are on the same page.
#3, it never ceases to amaze me when someone simplifies a task that has been complicatedly normalized. The vision can come from leaders, but more importantly any team member. The key point is to provide an environment which allows this type of thinking. That is where the rest of 1-10 come in.
When I see you’re list I think of one of my favorite sayings: ‘The Process is the Leader’. With Process I mean the Creative Interchange Process. Creative Interchange is one of the best kept secrets of the US!
It is the natural process of learning and transforming and was described in Henry Nelson Wieman’s Man’s Ultimate Commitment. For the moment its conditons and tools are gradually uncovered by Charlie Palmgren co-author of ‘The Chicken Conspiracy’ and author of ‘the Ascent of the Eagle’.
Indeed, leadership isn’t personal at all, it is a Process between human beings, the Creative Interchange Process.
Dan I wish I could have had this list at a Vision Committee meeting with my corporate team last week. As I shared out loud at a round table discussion that I felt we were doing a poor job on engaging our sales force is our “story” I was met with opposition.
#2 really hit home – it felt like they wanted to continue to control our people instead of aligning passion. I’m a huge fan of hope and passion as we live out our called purpose.
Thanks for the contribution Dan
Thanks Matt. I respect your candor and passion. Your comment reminded me of something the CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com, Jim McCann said, There is no 9th inning in business/leadership. Thankfully, we’ll be at bat again soon. Best for the journey.
Yessir! Huge baseball guy growing up too, so I love Jim’s take! Leadership is full of ‘at-bats’ – swing away!
I think you nailed it.
I was working with a leader today who was feeling shame about being in the mud again. 6,7 and 8 where for him and I sent them directly. Add the word vulnerability and I think it is perfect. Thanks again.