What does it mean to have a leader mindset?

In their recent book, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager”, authors Scott Miller, Todd Davis and Victoria Roos Olsson suggest that part of your job as a leader is to routinely assess your paradigms (or mindsets) for accuracy. Mindsets about our team or ourselves as leaders that do not reflect reality can limit how we perform and the extent to which we empower our teams.  

Develop a Leaders Mindset
“I achieve results on my own”
“I achieve results with and through others”
Hold Regular 1-on-1’s
“I hold 1-on-1’s to monitor people’s progress”
“I hold regular 1-on-1’s to help people get – and stay-engaged”
Set Up Your Team to Get Results
“I tell team members what to do and how to do it”
“I help team members get clear about the “why” behind the “what” and support them in the “how”
Create a Culture of Feedback
“I give feedback so I can fix people’s problems.”
“I give and seek feedback to elevate the entire team”
Lead Your Team Through Change
“I control and contain change for my team”
“I champion change with my team”
Manage Your Time and Energy
“I am too busy to take time for myself”
“I must manage my time and energy to be an effective leader”
Therefore, the first step is developing a leader mindset is to elevate self-awareness around how we think and how that impacts our results. 
Many first-line managers often overlook changing the very foundational mindset around how they define success (See Row 1 in the table below). To successfully transition from team member to leader, we must value the results of the team over our own. This often means letting go of the familiar, and at times…letting go of things that previously made us successful.
For example, take the rock-star salesperson who becomes manager in title but instead of prioritizing leadership activities, she continues all the tasks, duties and routines that made her successful before becoming a manager. Essentially she is now competing with her team while on top of that attempting to fit in “manager stuff” wherever, and if, possible. 
This shift can be difficult for new and first-line managers especially if they are not trained, coached and guided through this transition, namely the change in how they define success. Absent of any other information and different direction, these high-performing, freshly minted managers may default to what they know like the new sales manager above, but this strategy breaks down for multiple reasons.
Review the left column in the table above to find six practices commonly found among successful first-line leaders. The middle column reflects a common mindset associated with each practice where it becomes clear the right activity for the wrong reason can limit us as leaders. In the far right column, the leader mindset associated with the same practice but contrasted with the common mindset, shows how a different perspective on the leader role can make all the difference in empowering the team. 
What actions can you take to develop or enhance your leader mindset? 
  1. Review your current paradigms. List the members of your team and write down your beliefs about each of them. Challenge yourself to uncover “why” you may think that about said individual, whether it’s quality of work, their demeanor, reliability, or lack thereof. In other words what evidence do you have to support the story you have been telling yourself about this team member?
  2. Next, ask what the opposite story could be and what evidence exists to support that. Are you giving them a fair shake? How much of your own bias, insecurity, recent experience or pattern of consistent encounters makes your belief true or incomplete? 
  3. Do the same for your own paradigms about yourself and your leadership capability. Ask, “Is this belief really true?” Do you have any beliefs that if altered could increase your potential? 
  4. Identify the paradigms that made you successful as an individual contributor. Determine which of them will or won’t work in your leadership role. 
  5. Finally, check out this series of short videos as the authors noted above discuss each of the six practices to develop a high performing team.