Why Engineering Firms Need Vertical Leadership Development – Podcast interview with Ryan Gottfredson

Why Engineering Firms Need Vertical Leadership Development – Podcast interview with Ryan Gottfredson

“Leadership is not about doing certain things; it is about being a certain type of person that others want to follow.” – Ryan Gottfredson, Ph. D.

In this episode, I interviewed Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D., a cutting-edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant, and we talked about vertical leadership development, what that is, and how organizations can help vertically develop their leaders primarily through a focus on mindsets.

Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Why Engineering Firms Need Vertical Leadership Development:

  • Mindsets are the most foundational aspects of why we do what we do. We have an encoding process in our minds that automatically encodes any situation we find ourselves in. How our mind encodes the situation shapes how we think, learn, and behave. We do not talk about mindsets enough, and we do not engage in enough effort to try to awaken the quality of our mindsets.
  • Our mindsets are neural connections in our brains. We each have a fixed mindset neural connection and a growth mindset neural connection. The stronger neural connection we have determines how we automatically react to situations. Neural connections are like muscles in the way that the more we use them, the stronger they become. Working and exercising our growth neural connections for five minutes a day for a month will result in changes in how we think, learn, and behave.
  • There are two forms of personal development: horizontal development and vertical development. Horizontal development is adding new knowledge and skills. Vertical development is elevating our ability to make meaning of our world in more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated ways. It does not focus on doing more, but rather on being more.
  • To further develop your vertical development, you need to adjust your focus from gaining new knowledge to working on your mindset in more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated ways. Evidence that you are not being cognitively and emotionally sophisticated is when you get defensive or self-protective. It means we must heal our body because we get self-protective due to damage to some part of our nervous system, which is often rooted in some form of past trauma. So, if you want to upgrade your vertical development, you must focus on healing yourself.
  • There are three adult development stages; rising from one level to another is called vertical development. The three development stages are called mind 1.0, mind 2.0, and mind 3.0. At each stage, our bodies are programmed to fulfill different needs.
  • At the mind 1.0 level, our bodies fulfill the needs of safety, comfort, and belonging. Research shows that 64% of adults operate at this level.
  • At the mind 2.0 level, the progress makers need to stand out, advance, and get ahead. Our bodies allow us to be unsafe, uncomfortable, and not belong to fulfill these needs. It means you move from being a dependent thinker to an independent thinker. Thirty-five percent of people will reach this mind 2.0 level. Eighty-five percent of executives operate at this level.
  • At the mind 3.0 level, the needs are to contribute, add value, and lift others. We shift our focus from ourselves standing out to something bigger than ourselves. You must be an interdependent thinker to reach this level. Only 1% of adults and 8% of executives get to this level.
  • For people to start moving up the mind levels, they should first apply them in their families and test them out. It is a more forgiving environment than the workplace, and you can practice them before bringing them into the workplace.
  • Characteristics of vertically developed people are things like patience, humility, intellectual humility, psychological flexibility, emotional intelligence, vulnerability, and empathy. Horizontal development will never get you these characteristics. These characteristics are reflective of us simply being better people.
  • The starting place of leveling up your mind to elevate your leadership is awareness. The deeper you go inward, the higher you can go in terms of vertical leadership altitude. Use assessments that will give you objective feedback on your vertical altitude and the quality of your mindset. Once you awaken to vertical leadership, you can see what level you are at and how you can progress forward.

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