Build Your Leadership Mindset With These 3 Examples

Businesses spend billions each year honing their leadership development techniques. But are these techniques working? A recent survey from the Harvard Business Review found that 75 per cent of businesses surveyed consider their leadership teams ineffective.

Many development programs don’t take into account mindset, a crucial part of successful leadership. Mindset controls what leaders do and why, and many prominent businesspeople and athletes credit mindset to unlocking their success.

How can you build mindset into your leadership role? We’ve gone beyond the business world to find examples of successful people that have used mindset to achieve great results. Take a look below.

Reframe Your Failures
Failure is inevitable: both in life and in business. However, it is our reaction to failure, and our ability to move forward, that makes a true leader.

For professional poker player Maria Konnikova, reframing failures all comes down to building a victory mindset. Now, poker is a game of wits as well as a game of skill. You’re playing your opponent just as much as you’re playing the cards, which makes Konnikova’s experience all the more interesting – Konnikova is also a trained psychologist.

In a recent article for Inc., Konnikova said: “A poor player has a negative mindset. They tell themselves that they don’t have any control over their destiny and that they’ll keep losing in the future, no matter how hard they work.

“A successful player, on the other hand, focuses on the process and not the outcome. Their thinking goes like this: The cards went against me this time, but I made good decisions. It’s not a reflection of my skills. If I keep making these good decisions, I’ll win more often than I lose.”

What does a victory mindset mean in business? In a recent article for Global Poker, Konnikova confided that victory is all about position: “You have to play smart. Turn the decision momentum so that the power of position is on [your] side.”

Reframing your failures and trusting your own processes are both critical to creating a leadership mindset.

Don’t Limit Yourself
Serena Williams is one of the most successful athletes of all time. She’s won 23 Singles Grand Slams and four Olympic gold medals, amongst many other honors. However, tennis is only part of her story: she’s also a successful business owner and venture capitalist.

The New York Times credits her longevity to this diversification: “[Williams] insisted on playing in [her] style and by [her] own rules. [She] paced [herself] for the long haul and became a well-rounded [person] — on and off the court. [She] attended college and developed [her] own businesses, rejecting the advice of experts to adopt a single-minded approach to athletics.”

The lesson for business leaders? Don’t let rules or expectation hold you back from achieving your potential. Diversify, and try new things. In an article for Forbes, Williams says it best herself: “I have so much to look forward to. I’m literally just getting started.”

Take Extreme Ownership
For former Navy SEALS Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, extreme ownership is the secret to a leadership mindset. In their book Extreme Ownership, Willink and Babin discuss the ways that ownership helped them lead soldiers in Iraq, and how it’s been the secret to achieving success throughout their lives.

What is extreme ownership? Willink and Babin summarized their message in a recent Forbes article: “Stop blaming your people or market conditions or any other (even legitimate) excuse. Instead, take ownership of the problem, and focus on how to make whatever changes are necessary. When an organization is in blame mode, you know it’s not in solution mode. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to be focused on solutions rather than on problems.”

What does this mean for your business? Stop making excuses, and realize that, as a leader, you are responsible for the success of your team. By taking extreme ownership, you get to the root of the problem.

The fascinating thing about mindset? It’s all in your head. Changing your mindset doesn’t involve buying anything or getting a fancy degree – it’s about changing the way you look at the world. The only thing holding you back is yourself.