How to Think Like a Leader

Your mind is a ship without a sail about half the time.

Ask, “What are you thinking about?” and people often say, “Nothing.” But that’s not true.

A mind adrift seldom thinks good thoughts.

Unfocused thoughts descend into dark water. You obsess about yourself. You think about what’s wrong. You worry.

When your thoughts wander, they go to dark places. But that’s not all.


Ask people what they want, and they’ll tell you what they don’t want. Ask people what they like, and they’ll tell you what they don’t like.

We lean toward negative thinking even when we control our thinking. Unattended thoughts are anchors and sometimes conscious thinking is dark as well.

At the helm:

Leadership begins with thinking.

What do you want to think about yourself? An unattended brain tends toward self-criticism. A little criticism helps. A lot of criticism paralyzes.

It’s only useful to think about things you don’t like and don’t want if you turn toward opportunities and solutions.

What DO you want to think about yourself in relationship to others? Stop obsessing about how people are treating you. Obsess about lifting others.

Your brain needs a rudder. Think about what you think about.

Would you follow a leader who thinks like you think?

  1. How are your thoughts helpful?
  2. How might your thoughts be self-justifying?
  3. How are your thoughts leaderly?
  4. How are your thoughts helping you elevate others?

Leadership begins in your brain.

Turn your thoughts to solutions. Shift your focus toward the future.

How might leaders get a grip on their thinking?

What does it mean to think like a leader?

Resource: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Daniel Goleman