As is evident from LinkedIn’s 2023 Most In-Demand Skills report, leadership and management rank highly in the top five skills listed as a key requirement by employers advertizing jobs on the platform. It is clear that whether you are currently in or aspiring 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 the secrets of their business and career growth and how can you adapt these principles into your own career to supercharge your progression up the ladder?
Thinking like a leader isn’t about imagining you own a large team, and bossing your way into power. There are eight fundamental principles that underpin a leadership mentality.
Leaders Push The Envelope
Exceptional leaders make a name for themselves because they push the limits of what seems to be radically possible. They’re not content to settle for the status quo. If everyone says something cannot be achieved, they seek to understand why, and how the difficulty can be surmounted. They are adventurous by nature and push as far as possible until nature itself or circumstances beyond the scope of their control say no. When you push perceived boundaries, this results in the creation or evolution of ground-breaking new products and services into new markets, which wouldn’t have been possible previously if you decided to settle into your comfort zone.
Leaders Are Solutions-Focused
It’s easy to complain about what you don’t like or what you would want 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 that are highly prized by employers, and you can even use AI to accelerate and spark new ideas as you create and suggest solutions at work. Bring your A-game and turn your complaining energy into a proactive, “here’s a suggested approach” energy.
Leaders Possess Accountability
As an aspiring leader, it is important to develop your emotional intelligence skills to instil trust from your stakeholders; one of these core skills that demonstrate you have a high level of EQ is accountability. Hold yourself responsible for your work and its results, no matter what the outcome, and take pride in your projects. Own your share of work and seek to master it and understand the most effective and efficient ways of completing your project.
Leaders Inspire Enthusiasm
As an aspiring leader, your energy should be contagious. It’s easy to settle into the water cooler talk of how terrible the stakeholder meeting was, or how you can’t wait to finish work on Friday or leave early, or how difficult it is to win everyone’s consensus at the morning team meeting. But what if you took the initiative to turn these chats 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 of 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 are aware of it or not. Take pride in performing your work ethically, set high standards for your own performance, and be the one who maintains unquestionable character and embodies the values of your organization.
Leaders Gain Fresh Perspectives
You will grow 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 on your level or higher, learning from them, seeking mentorship and training, and seeking new partners to complement you or your organization’s expertise.
Leaders Consider The Greater Good
One trait that will define you as a leader is your ability to think outside the box of what you’re currently involved in, and consider its impact on the larger scale, including external or internal factors that could impact 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 are focuses merely on the day-to-day with no consideration for the future.
Leaders Use Their Voice
As a leader, it’s important to establish your personal brand and your unique voice. Become a dominant voice in your industry, and lead by sharing your insights on your area of expertise. Social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent places to showcase your knowledge and demonstrate your credibility.
Becoming a leader will require a shift in mindset before you shift in 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 each day until it becomes part of your everyday behavior and is second nature.