Many people believe in the myth that leaders are born, not made. Research on leadership development suggests that this simply is not true, and in fact 70% or more of leadership ability is the result of lessons learned through life experiences.
A foundational concept of leadership development is often referred to as “leadership readiness.” It is a belief inside a person that they are truly ready, willing, and able to become a leader. People who believe this about themselves can develop leadership capabilities much faster, which is not surprising. This idea is very much in-line with research done by Carol Dweck about having a “growth” mindset versus a “fixed” mindset so that we believe we can continue to develop and change throughout our lives.
To help you recognize that leadership is possible for you, I want to suggest two ideas that can help you along that path:
- Assess Your Strengths
- Look Inside
Assess Your Strengths
One of the ways to discover that we are capable of leadership is to identify the strengths that we have and find ways to utilize them. There are a lot of free and paid assessments out there, such as CliftonStrengths by Gallup to help you do this, but a very simple approach is to ask people who know you well.
Go ahead – ask the ten people in your life who know you better than anyone else what they think your top three personal strengths are. Likely, you will agree with a lot of what they say. They may also share with you things that you don’t currently believe about yourself, but because others are suggesting it, you may start to believe a little bit more. Write these things down and start believing in yourself what others already believe about you.
Crushing Limiting Belief Activity: This may seem a bit weird, but stay with me. Take about five minutes and jot down a quick list of what you consider to be your weaknesses. Then grab a separate piece of paper or note card and write down each of those “weaknesses” that you identify that is actually a limiting belief (a false belief that you accept as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in your life). Take that paper with the list of limiting beliefs and rip it up. Throw it into the air. Make a mess. Yell a little bit. Show those beliefs you don’t accept them. For example, my weakness might be that I tend to suppress my emotions which can lead to less connection in my relationships. A limiting belief I used to accept was that I was not a good writer. You may or may not agree with that, but at least I am pushing through and practicing my skills! I would write that on a note card and rip it up. I promise, it feels good.
It’s not easy to make huge changes in our lives, but people do change. When we are just told what to do/change, it doesn’t happen. Our desire to change increases when we can increase self-awareness and have those “ah-ha” moments or epiphanies that help us see ourselves and our situations in a new light. That’s really how we adjust our mindsets, which then drives our behaviors in new ways.
I’ve seen people who were so bent on blaming others that they were extremely toxic in all of their relationships. One person I worked with was literally about to be fired. Yet we were able to create just enough space to realize he was part of the problem and began focusing on what he could change, rather than blaming everyone else. His whole outlook on life and work changed. It was amazing to see how things improved for him, and shortly thereafter he got a promotion!
Mindset Adjustment Activity: Identify the largest work challenge you are facing right now. Write down what you think the root cause of the problem is. Then, write down 2-3 things you can do personally to make things better (this is not about you taking action to fix other people – focus on you). Then, stay focused on your own ability to help the cause rather than what others are/aren’t doing.
Land a Job You Love!
I’ve created a new masterclass to help those out of a job or seeking a new job to help them get hired fast. Go watch my FREE Engineering Career Accelerator Masterclass by clicking on the button below!