How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Cultivating a growth mindset as a leader and encouraging it in your team is crucial for building a culture of continuous learning and innovation. You’re either growing or you’re falling behind those who are. If you’re interested in consistent growth there are some well defined steps that can help you develop a growth mindset as a leader and promote it within your team. 

  • Begin by understanding the concept of a growth mindset. Read books, articles, and research on the subject, such as Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Gain a solid understanding of the difference between a growth mindset (believing that abilities can be developed through dedication and effort) and a fixed mindset (believing that abilities are fixed traits).
  • As a leader, your actions speak louder than words. Way louder! Demonstrate a growth mindset in your own behavior and decision-making processes. Embrace challenges, take risks, seek feedback, and continuously learn and improve. Share stories of your own failures, setbacks, and how you learned from them. This will help your team see that growth and development are valued and encouraged.
  • Create opportunities for your team members to develop their skills and expand their knowledge. Provide access to training programs, workshops, conferences, or online courses. Support their participation in relevant industry events or networking opportunities. Encourage them to set ambitious goals, and provide resources and guidance to help them achieve those goals.
  • Cultivate a team culture where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities. One where failure is not stigmatized but rather viewed as a stepping stone toward improvement. Encourage open communication and collaboration, where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas. Celebrate efforts and progress, not just the final outcomes.
  • When providing feedback, focus on the process and effort rather than just the results. Recognize and acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and improvement demonstrated by your team members. Help them identify areas for growth and offer guidance on how to overcome challenges. Encourage a growth-oriented dialogue. Emphasize that abilities can be developed through practice and perseverance.
  • Encourage your team members to take ownership of their work and pursue opportunities for growth. Provide them with autonomy to make decisions, experiment, and learn from their experiences. Encourage them to take on new challenges and stretch beyond their comfort zones. Offer support and guidance as needed, but allow them to take the lead and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Promote collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and skills within your team. Create platforms or systems for knowledge exchange, such as regular team meetings, mentorship programs, or cross-functional projects. Encourage team members to learn from each other. Leverage their diverse strengths, and support one another in their growth journeys.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate team members who demonstrate a growth mindset. Celebrate their efforts, progress, and achievements. Recognize those who embrace challenges and actively pursue learning and development. By recognizing and rewarding growth mindset behaviors, you reinforce their importance.

Cultivating a growth mindset is an ongoing process. As a leader, your consistent focus and commitment to creating a growth-oriented culture will have a significant impact on your team’s mindset and performance. If you have the audacity to call yourself a leader then you must lead the way to a growth culture by working on your own growth mindset every day. 

I hope you have that audacity and I hope you accept the responsibility that comes with it. 

Want more of LeadToday? I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two or three videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Sometimes a bonus video pops up at other times during the week. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $4.99 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month. 

If you’re interested in taking a look, head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success. 

Here’s the link to my Twitter… 

How to Cope When You’ve Been Laid Off

Dealing with job loss can be a challenging and stressful experience. It makes little difference how the job loss came about. Whether you were deservedly terminated or laid off through no fault of your own, it’s very difficult to accept. But there are several steps you can take to navigate this difficult situation. Here’s a few thoughts on how to go about it.

  • Losing a job can bring up a range of emotions such as shock, anger, frustration, or even sadness. It’s important to acknowledge and accept these feelings as a natural part of the process. Give yourself time to grieve and reflect on what happened before moving forward. However, don’t give yourself too much time. There is a fine line between grieving the loss of a job and throwing yourself a never ending pity party. 
  • Evaluate your financial position and determine how long you can sustain yourself without a job. Review your savings, expenses, and any other sources of income you may have. Creating a budget can help you manage your finances effectively during this period of transition.
  • Look into any available resources provided by your previous employer. Things like severance packages, career counseling, or job placement services can help. Check with government agencies, local job centers, or nonprofit organizations that offer support for job seekers. They may provide guidance, training, or even financial assistance.
  • Update your resume with your most recent job experience, highlighting your skills and accomplishments. Consider taking courses, attending workshops, or acquiring certifications to enhance your skill set. That makes you more marketable to potential employers. This is also an excellent time to reflect on your career goals and consider if a career change or further education may be beneficial.
  • Tap into your professional and personal networks to let people know you are actively seeking new job opportunities. There is no shame in losing a job or needing to look for work. Tell anyone and everyone you’re looking and directly ask them for help. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and engage in online networking platforms such as LinkedIn. Engage friends, family, and former colleagues in your search and ask for any leads or recommendations they may have.
  • Customize your job search approach based on your skills, interests, and the current job market. Utilize online job boards, company websites, recruitment agencies. Don’t overlook social media platforms to explore job openings. Consider reaching out directly to companies you are interested in, even if they are not advertising any vacancies.
  • Job loss can be emotionally draining. It’s crucial to maintain a positive mindset and take care of your physical and mental well-being. Engage in activities that bring you enjoy. Practice self-care, exercise regularly, and spend time with loved ones who can offer support.
  • While searching for a new job, you may want to explore alternative options such as freelancing, consulting, or starting your own business. These avenues can provide temporary income and potentially open up new opportunities for your career.

Job searching can sometimes be a lengthy process, and rejection is a normal part of it. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks or rejections. Stay motivated, learn from each experience, and adapt your approach if needed. Persistence is key to finding the right job opportunity.

If you’re struggling to cope with the emotional impact of job loss or finding it challenging to navigate the job market, consider seeking guidance from a career counselor or coach. They can provide valuable insights, support, and help you develop strategies to overcome any obstacles you may face.

Job loss is not a reflection of your worth or abilities. By taking proactive steps, staying resilient, and maintaining a positive outlook, you can turn this challenging period into an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Remember, you were looking for a job when you found the one you just lost. That makes the odds overwhelmingly likely that you can do it again. Never ever stop believing in yourself because job or no job, you matter. You make a difference in the world and the people around you. You were born for success and the next job you say yes to may be the one that fulfills you beyond what you can even imagine. Your future is as bright as you choose to make it and never allow the loss of a job to cause you to think otherwise.

Want more of LeadToday? I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two or three videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Sometimes a bonus video pops up at other times during the week. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $4.99 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month. 

If you’re interested in taking a look, head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success. 

Here’s the link to my Twitter… 

Thinking Strategically

I’ve always found thinking to be a good thing to do. That’s especially true before you say something. Our thoughts create our words and our words frequently become our actions. We need to think about that in particular. 

But I sometimes think that “overthinking” causes as many problems as not thinking. Different problems for sure but problems all the same. I often marvel as I watch people prepare a presentation. They think and rethink every word as they put it in their PowerPoint. I’ve seen people make literally dozens and dozens of changes to the wording on their slides. All the while giving almost no thought as to how they were going to say those words. 

They fail to realize that when it comes to presenting effectively how you say something is roughly 5 times more important than the something you say. Overthinking tends to paralyze us. It prevents us from taking action until everything is perfect and since everything is rarely perfect… you see what I mean. 

But there is also what I would call an elevated level of thinking. This is the level we want to strive for when thinking about the big stuff in our lives and careers. It’s known as Strategic Thinking.

Thinking strategically involves adopting a holistic and long-term perspective to make informed decisions that align with your goals and objectives. I hope you paid attention to that previous sentence. If you did then you understand that absent goals and objectives there will be no strategic thinking either. So if you have no goals and objectives for your life, or you have no interest in developing any, you can quit reading now. But if you are goal oriented then here are some ideas to help you think more strategically. 

While we are looking at strategic thinking in terms of business in this particular post understand that thinking strategically can have a huge impact on your personal life as well. 

  • Define your goals: Clearly identify your short-term and long-term objectives. What do you want to achieve? Having well-defined goals will guide your strategic thinking and decision-making process.
  • Understand the bigger picture: Develop a deep understanding of the internal and external factors that can influence your goals. Analyze market trends, industry dynamics, competitive landscape, and any other relevant factors that can impact your success.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis: Assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to gain a comprehensive understanding of your current situation. This analysis will help you identify areas where you can leverage your strengths, overcome weaknesses, exploit opportunities, and mitigate threats.
  • Think long-term: Strategic thinking requires a focus on the long-term implications of your decisions. Consider how your choices today can impact your future outcomes. Avoid short-sighted thinking and prioritize sustainable strategies that can provide lasting benefits.
  • Analyze risks and uncertainties: Recognize that strategic decisions involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Identify potential risks, evaluate their likelihood and potential impact. Develop contingency plans to address them. Be prepared to adapt your strategy as new information emerges.
  • Embrace creativity and innovation: Strategic thinking often involves exploring new ideas, approaches, and perspectives. Encourage creativity and innovation within your thinking process. Challenge conventional wisdom. Be open to unconventional solutions that can give you a competitive advantage.
  • Consider different perspectives: Engage in critical thinking by considering various viewpoints and alternative scenarios. Avoid confirmation bias and actively seek out dissenting opinions. This practice helps you anticipate challenges and make well-rounded decisions.
  • Prioritize and allocate resources: Strategically allocate your resources, including time, money, and manpower, to areas that have the highest potential impact on your goals. Make informed trade-offs and invest in initiatives that align with your strategic objectives.
  • Continuously learn and adapt: Monitor the outcomes of your strategic decisions and be willing to learn from both successes and failures. Adapt your strategy as necessary based on new information, changing circumstances, and emerging opportunities.
  • Communicate and collaborate: Strategic thinking should not be confined to an individual endeavor. Foster a culture of strategic thinking within your team or organization. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas to collectively contribute to strategic decision-making.

Strategic Thinking is a skill that develops over time with practice. By consistently applying these ideas and reflecting on your decisions, you can improve your ability to think strategically. Strategic Thinking is a life skill and it’s one that the most successful people never stop working on. 

Think about that!

How to Improve Your Executive Presence

I have, unfortunately, actually seen people promoted into leadership positions because they “looked like a leader.” When I have asked what about those people’s look qualified them for a leadership position I was told, “that’s hard to define but look at them, they are obviously a leader.” 

So that’s obviously, at least to me, completely ridiculous. There is no leadership “look.” Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all colors and ages. They come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and levels of education. You can no more tell if someone will be a good leader by looking at them than you can judge a book by it’s cover. 

But….there are solid reasons for making at least some effort to “look the part” of a leader. There are people you notice almost immediately when you walk into a room and there are people who seem to almost disappear in a room. Those you notice right away are said to possess a certain “presence.” Or in the case of leadership, an executive presence. 

Improving your executive presence can be crucial when you need to project confidence, credibility, and leadership moxie. If you’re interested in projecting a more professional presence, be it in a leadership role or not, here are some things to keep in mind. 

  • Understand your strengths, weaknesses, values, and communication style. This self-awareness will allow you to align your behaviors and actions with your authentic self. I have always been honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve not always chosen to work on my weaknesses, instead I’ve tried to play to my strengths. But I’ve never tried to hide those weaknesses, especially from myself. If you’re going to lead, you had better be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do. That’s vital because if you can’t be honest with yourself you won’t be honest with anyone. 
  • Effective communication is essential for executive presence. Improve both your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Things like articulating ideas clearly, active listening, and maintaining eye contact matter.  I sold the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking course for years. I can tell you nothing, absolutely nothing, projects a more powerful executive presence than being an effective communicator in front of a group. And anyone can improve their public speaking skills.
  • Dress appropriately for your industry and the occasion, ensuring that your appearance reflects competence and professionalism. Dress codes have certainly changed and loosened over time but they have not completely gone away. When in doubt, “overdress” for the occasion. I’d much rather have someone sneering at me saying “who are you trying to impress” than have people looking at me wondering if I slept in my clothes. 
  • Confidence is a key element of executive presence. Build your confidence by acknowledging your accomplishments, seeking continuous learning, and challenging yourself. Practice positive self-talk and maintain a confident posture.
  • Strong interpersonal skills are crucial for building relationships and influencing others. Develop your ability to connect with people, actively listen, empathize, and adapt your communication style to different individuals and situations. But, and this is a big but, always be yourself. Adapt your communication style but don’t try to “fake” your way to executive presence. You will be found out!
  • Executives are expected to make well-informed decisions. Hone your critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills.  Use those skills to demonstrate your ability to make sound judgments and strategic decisions.
  • Build relationships with colleagues, industry peers, mentors, and leaders. A robust network provides support, guidance, and opportunities for growth, while also expanding your visibility and influence.
  • Seek feedback from trusted mentors, colleagues, or coaches who can provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. Actively work on refining your skills and areas of development.

Executive presence is a journey that requires ongoing effort and self-reflection. By focusing on these areas and continuously striving for growth, you can enhance your executive presence and make a lasting impact in your professional career.

Making Better Decisions

It has been said that every decision we make, makes us. I believe that is true. It’s also true that the better our decisions the better our lives will be. Yet, many people struggle to make decisions. Their progress in life is hampered because they can’t, won’t or are simply afraid to decide. What they often fail to realize is that not making a decision is in fact a decision. It’s a decision to do nothing. That’s almost always a bad decision. 

It’s almost impossible to “fix” a decision that wasn’t made. When you make a bad decision all you have to do is make a better decision to fix it. Making more and better decisions is a valuable skill that can be developed through practice and a thoughtful approach. Here are some steps to help you improve your decision-making abilities.

  1. Define the decision: Clearly understand the decision you need to make. Identify the problem or opportunity you’re facing and define the desired outcome or objective.
  1. Gather information: Collect relevant information and data related to the decision. This might involve conducting research, consulting experts, or analyzing past experiences. Ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing the decision.
  1. Identify alternatives: Generate a range of potential options or solutions to consider. Avoid limiting yourself to just one or two choices. Brainstorm different possibilities and explore creative alternatives.
  1. Evaluate the pros and cons: Assess the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Consider the potential risks, benefits, costs, and consequences associated with each option. Consider the consequences of the consequences but don’t paralyze your decisions making ability by over analyzing. You must find balance here. Prioritize the factors that are most important to you or align with your objectives.
  1. Consider your values and priorities: Reflect on your personal values, beliefs, and long-term goals. Ensure that the decision aligns with your principles and supports what matters most to you. Sometimes, it may be necessary to make trade-offs or compromises. But, and this is big, do not compromise on your core values. Fight for them. If they aren’t worth fighting for then they aren’t really core values to begin with. 
  1. Analyze the potential outcomes: Project the potential outcomes of each alternative. Consider the short-term and long-term consequences and how they align with your objectives. Assess the likelihood of success or failure for each option.
  1. Seek diverse perspectives: Engage with others who have knowledge or experience related to the decision. Seek different viewpoints, feedback, and advice. This can help you gain valuable insights, challenge your assumptions, and identify blind spots.
  1. Trust your intuition: Intuition can play a role in decision-making, particularly when you have relevant experience or expertise. Listen to your gut feelings, but also balance them with rational analysis and evidence.
  1. Make a decision: After weighing the information, alternatives, and perspectives, make a choice. Avoid excessive hesitation or indecisiveness. Trust yourself and have confidence in your ability to make sound decisions.
  1. Take action: Implement your decision and follow through with the necessary actions. Develop a plan, set deadlines, and allocate resources as needed. Be adaptable and willing to adjust your course if new information or circumstances arise.
  1. Evaluate the decision: Once you’ve implemented your decision, evaluate its effectiveness. Assess the outcomes and learn from the experience. Determine what worked well and what could be improved for future decisions.
  1. Reflect and learn: Continuously improve your decision-making skills by reflecting on past decisions and learning from your successes and failures. Seek feedback and seek opportunities to refine your approach.

Remember, decision-making is a process, and it’s normal to make mistakes. Sometimes you won’t need this entire process. Sometimes you’ll use all of it but the process will be brief. Sometimes, the process will require a significant investment of time. 

In any event they key is to make a decision. But, it’s not really a decision until you act on it. Acting on a decision is vital to effective decision making. By consistently practicing and refining your decision-making abilities, you can enhance your skills and make more informed and effective choices over time.

And remember, the better your choices, the better your life!

How to be a More Inspirational Leader

Whenever I ask people in leadership positions where they need the most help I hear, “I need to be more inspiring.” “I need to help my people be more motivated.” Those are common responses. So is the response I get when I ask “what are you doing about that? The answer to that question is most often crickets! 

Becoming a more inspiring leader requires a combination of personal qualities, effective communication, and the ability to motivate and empower others. Here are some key steps you can take to enhance your leadership in a way that inspires those around you.

  1. Lead by example. This one is huge. Whether you are a great leader, a crappy leader or somewhere in between you are leading by example. Your people are always watching you. They are watching to see if your words line up with your actions. They are watching to see if the “rules” that apply to them apply to you as well. They are watching to see if they can trust you. They are watching to see if you are worth following. They are always watching. Inspiring leaders demonstrate the qualities and behaviors they expect from their team members. You must be a role model who embodies integrity, passion, commitment, and a strong work ethic. When others see your dedication and positive attitude, they are more likely to be motivated and inspired to follow suit. Never forget, your people will do what YOU do about a thousand times faster than they will do what you say. 
  1. Communicate your vision. Clearly articulate your vision and goals to your team. Frequently. Help them understand the purpose and significance of their work. Provide context and explain how their contributions fit into the bigger picture. Effective communication helps create a shared sense of purpose and inspires people to work towards a common goal.
  1. Be a good listener. Actively listen to your team members and show genuine interest in their ideas, concerns, and feedback. In fact, don’t just show genuine interest, BE genuinely interested. Encourage open and honest communication. Create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. By considering different perspectives, you can make better-informed decisions and inspire trust and respect among your team.
  1. Provide meaningful feedback. Offer constructive feedback and praise when appropriate. Recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments and efforts of your team members. Regularly provide guidance and support to help individuals grow and develop their skills. When people feel their work is appreciated and they receive guidance for improvement, they become more motivated and inspired.
  1. Foster a positive work culture. Cultivate a positive and inclusive work environment where individuals feel safe to express their ideas and take risks. Encourage collaboration, teamwork, and creativity. Celebrate successes and create opportunities for team-building activities. A positive work culture promotes enthusiasm and inspiration among team members.
  1. Empower and delegate. Trust your team members and empower them to take ownership of their work. Delegate tasks and responsibilities, allowing individuals to grow and develop their skills. Provide the necessary resources, support, and autonomy for them to succeed. When people feel trusted and empowered, they become more motivated and inspired to achieve their best.
  1. Develop your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and effectively relate to others. Developing emotional intelligence helps you connect with your team on a deeper level, show empathy, and navigate challenging situations with grace. By understanding and responding to the emotions of others, you can inspire and motivate them more effectively.
  1. Continuously learn and grow. Stay curious and committed to your own personal and professional growth. Seek opportunities for learning, whether through books, courses, seminars, or mentors. A leader who is constantly evolving and expanding their knowledge inspires others to do the same.

If you have been paying attention to this blog the last several weeks you’ll have likely noticed that each one of those steps have been covered in greater detail. Authentic Leaders help people succeed. They help common people achieve uncommon results by pushing them towards their full potential. Authentic Leaders know the way to success, they show the way to success and most importantly, they go the way to success. 

Remember, inspiring leadership is a continuous journey.  One that requires self-reflection, adaptability, and a genuine desire to positively impact others. By embodying these principles, you can inspire and empower your team to achieve greatness together. That is the essence of Authentic Leadership. 

The Profound Significance of Humility

In a world often defined by self-promotion and self-centeredness, humility remains a timeless virtue that holds immeasurable importance. True humility is a remarkable strength that allows individuals to thrive. It fosters genuine connections. It helps people contribute meaningfully to their organizations and society. 

Years ago when I was working with the Dale Carnegie Organization I had a client who wanted Humility Training for their organization. That was not part of our curriculum at the time but we constantly added new topics so I asked around if any of my colleagues had that topic in their arsenal of courses. None did. But several said they could write a workshop on the topic because they were personally very humble people. 

It occurred to me that saying you were very humble somewhat disqualified you from teaching a class on humility. I could have written a workshop on humility myself but I didn’t think it would provide the kind of value the customer was looking for or deserved. So I declined the business. I couldn’t even offer a recommendation for a training company that could do an effective job with that topic. 

But I have never forgotten the request and I’ve never forgotten the absolutely profound significance of humility in every day relationships. Humility is vital to Authentic Leadership as well. 

Humility provides a fertile ground for personal growth and development. By recognizing that we have much to learn, we open ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives. There are a host of problems when dealing with “know it alls” but one of the big ones is that they are closed off to new ideas. Because they already know it all they have no way of learning how much they don’t know. 

Humility means accepting that we are not infallible and that we can benefit from the knowledge and experiences of others. This mindset encourages continuous learning and fuels our curiosity, enabling us to evolve as individuals. Humility also allows us to reflect on our mistakes and failures with grace, enabling us to grow from them rather than being consumed by pride or defensiveness.

Humility is a powerful catalyst for building and nurturing healthy relationships. When we approach others with humility, we show them respect and appreciation for their unique qualities and contributions. By valuing their perspectives and actively listening to them, we create an environment of trust and empathy. 

Humility allows us to let go of the need to be right all the time, fostering effective communication and conflict resolution. It enables us to set aside our egos, promoting collaboration and cooperation rather than competition. Through humble interactions, we develop stronger connections and create a sense of unity in our relationships.

At its core, humility encourages empathy and compassion. By recognizing our own imperfections, we become more understanding and tolerant of others’ flaws. Humility helps us see beyond ourselves and appreciate the struggles and triumphs of those around us. It allows us to offer genuine support and encouragement, as we understand that everyone is on their own unique journey. Through humble acts of kindness and compassion, we can uplift others and make a positive impact on their lives.

When we approach our days with humility, we embrace a sense of curiosity, recognizing that we don’t have all the answers. We become more open to diverse viewpoints and experiences. Humility encourages us to use our talents responsibly, making a positive impact on the lives of others. 

Humility facilitates personal growth.  It strengthens relationships, promotes empathy and compassion, and cultivates a balanced perspective. By practicing humility, we create a ripple effect of positive change. It impacts not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us. 

I have written a thousand times that we can care for people without leading them. But we cannot lead people without caring for them. I believe caring for others is a direct descendant of humility. You don’t really need a class on humility. I’ve learned in the decades since I was first asked about a class on humility that humility isn’t a skill to be learned. It’s is a mindset to be cultivated. When you grow yourself into a more humble person you unleash the transformative power of humility for yourself and everyone around you.

Unleash your humility today.