Just by opening this post you’ve proved you have an important characteristic of a good leader – YOU ARE CURIOUS.

primi-passiRemember when you were a child and started to walk? You probably fell over many times until you mastered the art of walking. You were determined, you had a purpose and a clear focus – nothing was going to stop you achieving what you wanted to do.

All of what you did then demonstrated great leadership qualities.

You’ve also proven lots of other leadership qualities since those early days of learning to walk and you could list them if you thought about them for a few minutes.

But what have you done well?

To help you think about them here’s a picture that’s commonly presented

leadership complexityThat was actually meant to make it more confusing! And make you switch off. That’s why we have very few great leaders. But now is the opportunity to change all that. If you want to.  

As is so often the case, even though people don’t intend to make it complicated it ends up being that way – complicated .  I regularly say

                “business is simple it’s people that make it complicated”  

So why not make it easy? Would you like to make it easy for yourself?

Here’s where you can start making it easy – but remember it’s taken you years to get where you are, and all that learning and your experiences have made you what you are today. So it may take a little time to be a better leader. The process however is simple – you need to

  1. Know what you are doing
  2. Decide to do something better – choose 1 thing
  3. Practice that 1 thing until you’ve improved
  4. See what that 1 thing is doing to you and your relationships with others

Where do you start?

First you will know that you have good leadership habits and bad ones. So make a list of them and it’s your list so don’t lie to yourself, be honest. To help you here’s a Map you can use to put what you do in context.

Mind_Fit_MapThis Mind Fit Map has been partly populated to help you understand the type of attitudes and behaviours that prevail today. I suggest you copy it on a piece of paper and make your own.

So if you get frustrated a lot, it’s not in the Can-Do part of the Map – it’s in the Won’t-Do or Can’t-Do – if it leads to being angry then that’s in the Won’t-Do camp. If you give up easily where are you on the Map? That’s a Can’t-Do too. If there’s something that really motivates you and drives you to finish it then that’s a Can-Do.  Get the picture?

By finding out where you are you can then choose, yes that’s right, you choose 1 and only 1 thing you want to change and improve.

Now here’s a clue – to improve yourself you will need to change something in the Can’t-Do or Won’t-Do part.

Now this is where the problems might start for some people. Although you’ve made a list and have put what you do on the Map, because you’ve done things automatically it might be hard to think about what you actually do that takes you to the Can’t-Do or Won’t-Do place. It might be overwhelming – which if it is, you should have that on your own Can’t-Do list.

So if that hasn’t helped let’s start simpler.

Here’s a simpler way to see what mindset you have

Just by answering these seven questions honestly you will find out where you are on the Map. The answers are below so don’t cheat – you are only cheating yourself.

Now look at the questions and mark yourself as follows:

Strongly Agree 3 points: Agree 2 points: Disagree 1 point: Strongly Disagree 0 points

  1. Closely supervise people even when they know what they are doing.
  2. Keep looking for ideas and solutions.
  3. Only a few people will be truly good at sports – you have to be “born with it.”
  4. Think aloud that there’s no point in trying to change anything.
  5. Encourage smarter ways of doing things.
  6. Point out that something new has been tried before and failed.
  7. Avoid sharing your views or ideas, even when invited to speak.

Don’t scroll down until you answer as you’re only cheating yourself.

Now scroll down to see what mindset you have below.

logo_3d_03Here are the answers:

  1. Won’t- Do
  2. Can-Do
  3. Can’t-Do or Won’t-Do
  4. Can’t-Do
  5. Can-Do
  6. Won’t- Do
  7. Can’t-Do

How did you score?

High scores in Can-Do are obviously good, but in Can’t-Do and Won’t-Do are not so good. Scoring over 5 in Can’t-Do plus Won’t-Do means you’re reducing your ability to succeed and be a good leader.

Next steps?

Pick one of those high scoring in 1, 3, 4, 6 or 7 and reflect on what you do. Ask a friend to help – that’s what friends are for after all. You’ll be helping them too.

It’s your future so continue the theme why you opened this post – be curious. Be like a forensic expert, a researcher, a scientist or an investigator only this time you have one purpose – and it’s an important one as it’s all about your improvement.

Want to make it easier? Take question 3 – are people good at sports born with it? Make it wider still, are leaders made or born? Google it for yourself.

Dr Anders Ericsson suggests that it takes 10,000 hours or 10 years to become an expert using deliberate practice in almost anything and, although the time it takes is disputed by others, the fact remains that people can become good or even great when dedicating themselves to putting in consistent, focused effort. That does not mean we can all become Olympic athletes or concert pianists capable of performing on a world stage but it does mean that we all have innate abilities to become good at something, if or when we choose.

Do you believe that? What was your answer to question 3? If not zero, take another look.

It’s all in your control

It’s easy for me to say that because it’s a fact. You may not be able to change your circumstances overnight but you can change what you do today.

Here’s an example – people believe golf is a complicated sport to master so I’ve co-authored a book with a PGA golf coach called “Is your mind fit for golf? The missing link to your success…” (unless you play golf there’s no need to buy it). But it shows the game (which is defined as having fun) can be fun if you know what to focus on. But here’s a free chapter about mindset, that’s about golf obviously but it has a much wider implication and it will explain why, with the right focus, golf can be fun. Click here for the free chapter 

Are you curious for more?

As ever you always have a choice… what’s yours?