Successful Leaders Need Mental Toughness And This Is Something Anyone Can Learn

Unit cell of the diamond cubic crystal structureImage via Wikipedia


My last post said that with practice you can learn to think positively and confidently about making changes.  You   can develop a resilient mindset.  This post takes this further and offers help!

People with inborn talent may be good at what they do—but experience shows that only the mentally tough reach the highest plateaus in their field.

Mental toughness is something anyone can learn.

Director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals and a top-tier executive coach, Dr. Jason Selk knows everything there is to know about developing mental toughness!

Inspired on the vision of legendary basketball coach John Wooden, Dr Selk has developed a program that is as simple as it is effective.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

You will have to put effort in if you are serious about being successful.  
But this is a great way to build up your mental “muscles.” 

Dr Selk provides hands-on daily exercises for breaking old, self-defeating patterns of behaviour.  You can replace them with the can-do attitude and positive behavior that would make Coach Wooden proud.

ExecutiveToughness outlines the three fundamentals for attaining high-level success:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY—admit to mistakes, correct them, and, most important, learn from them
  • FOCUS—on your strengths, on winning, on reaching your goal . . . for only 100 seconds per day
  • OPTIMISM—don’t just believe you can succeed, know you can succeed

Executive Toughness takes you through the steps of making these critical behaviours part of your everyday routine.

Practice your accountability, focus, and optimism!

Then,you’ll be on the path to attaining your goals!

Make them part of your mental “DNA” and there will be no turning back—ever.

ExecutiveToughness could be your workout for success in your career and in your life.
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UK Link

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 


She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114


Related articles

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  • Are you a resilient leader? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Business: Change Your Performance Mindset (psychologytoday.com)

The Resilient Mindset – don’t let a fixed mindset defeat you.

Don’t change – stay right where you are”!

Nobody said change was easy.  Personal change is hard, so is changing an organization.  It is uncomfortable and risky.

That is why most of us don’t change until change is forced on us.

We don’t change; even when making a change could make a huge and positive difference for us and those about us.

Most of us have a mindset that favours staying put right where we are – a “fixed” mindset. And fixed mindsets lack resilience.

Standing still and staying where we are, can present far more danger and risk in the long term than making a change.

Changing that mindset

So how do you develop a resilient mindset?

You need to learn to challenge your own thinking.

Your fixed mindset will chatter away in your head, if you let it.  It will fill your head with negativity and erode your confidence.

The nasty fixed mindset will tell you that even if you wanted to change, you can’t do it!  You’re not bright enough! Your team isn’t strong enough!  You don’t have the brains or the talent!

This time you are going to answer back. 

“Well I’m certainly bright enough – if I see the need for change, I’m bright enough to do it.  I can learn and I can find people who can advise me.  I can learn and my team can learn!”

You fixed mindset will probably answer – “But what happens if and when you fail?

So here is your defence.  “Everyone fails sometimes.  But I’ll do it well and I’ll manage the risks – so I’ve got every chance of success”

“But” says your fixed mindset, “if you don’t make the change, you can’t fail.”

“No, but, if I don’t try, I’ve failed already!

Now your fixed mindset sneers and becomes cunning.  “Oh so it is going to be easy for you then!”

You smile wryly.  “No it isn’t going to be easy.  Nothing worth having comes easy. I’m going to do it”

Back into the shadows!

If you keep beating it back, at some point your fixed mindset will slink away into the shadows.  It won’t be dead.

It may emerge occasionally when you are feeling tired or frustrated.

But you have the upper hand now.  You know you have to find the energy to take up your sword and beat it back into the shadows again.

With practice you can learn to think positively and confidently about your change.  You will develop a resilient mindset

You can do it! You can make the change you desire – it is time to start believing. Reach for your sword and begin practicing.


Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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  • Becoming A Leader Today – What to give up! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are you a resilient leader? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Business: Change Your Performance Mindset (psychologytoday.com)

When things go wrong! Giving criticism and negative feedback! Seven Ways to Be!

When things go wrong

Sometimes in leading or managing a team we need to give criticism or negative feedback.  Not everything can be perfect every time.  Sometimes things go wrong.  And sometimes that something is down to an action or lack of action by a person or a group of people.

First and most important be sure of the facts.  Try to find out exactly what went wrong and why.

To do this properly you need to have won the confidence and trust of your team.  They need to know that you will deal with them honestly, fairly and with compassion.  That does not mean that you will never give criticism when it is due.

Make sure that your criticism is constructive – it should be about getting things right in the future not about punishment or about scapegoats.  It should not be about the personal qualities of people.  You are not a parent, a school teacher or a judge in a Court of Law.

Dealing with discipline

If you think there has been a disciplinary offence then deal with it in line with your HR Policy. If necessary, take advice and if you are an SME don’t be afraid to have a word with an Employment Law Adviser.  Getting it wrong can cost you a lot of money.  If your team includes contractors be clear about the contract and where contractual responsibilities lies.

Giving Criticism!

Seven Ways to Be

How you sound, look and behave when you give the feedback often matters as much as the words you use.  But the words are important.

Here are my eight ways to be when giving criticism.

  1. Be direct! Get to the point and give the feedback in a simple straight forward way.
  2. Be clear! Set out what you are criticizing, the change you want to see and why.
  3. Be sincere! Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Sincerity mean you speak with care and respect. Don’t send a mixed message – for example “I think you are all wonderful but there is just this little thing I’d like to mention”.  This usually means the real purpose of the message gets lost. Putting the “but” in the middle just creates contradictions
  4. Be serious! Express concern but do not become emotional.  Getting angry and showing frustration will distort the message.  Again remember you are trying to create awareness and improve performance not to create noise, vent or make yourself feel better.
  5. Be objective! State what you have observed and the evidence you have gathered.  Do not reinterpret the facts and add your opinion beyond stating the gap between what happened and what should have happened according to the standards set by you or your organization.
  6. Be live! To have impact, feedback needs to be direct and person to person; not through someone else or through technology.  Talk live to people face-to-face when you can or by phone if there is no alternative.  If talking to a group be with them either physically or by a direct line.
  7. Be on time! No I don’t mean don’t be late for the meeting, although you never should.  Give feedback as close as possible to the event.  When everything is fresh in people’s mind your comments will have far greater impact than further down the line when many may have forgotten exactly what happened.

Those are my Seven Ways to Be when giving criticism and negative feedback.  Do you agree?  Send me your thoughts and observations by commenting below.

 
Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leading From Within

“For me, leadership is a shared responsibility for creating a better world in which to live and work.  It manifests in our passion to engage others in bringing about purposeful change.” Leading From Within – Nancy Huber

Harvard Business Review on the Mind of the Leader

Emotion is not always given its due importance in leadership literature.

This is what the Harvard Business Review  has to say about ‘The mind of the Leader’:

“If you are looking for leaders, how can you identify people who are motivated by the drive to achieve rather than by external rewards? The first sign is a passion for the work itself — such people seek out creative challenges, love to learn and take great pride in a job well done. They also display an unflagging energy to do things better and are forever raising the performance bar.”

Since we can’t all lead, all the time, it is emotion – passion for a particular work – more than intelligence – that can help us find who has the potential for leadership.

Characteristics of the Heart

There are four characteristics which Nancy Huber – responsible for the top quote –  considers to be the foundation of good leadership.    They are not traits which you are either born with or not. Nor are they attributes that you might acquire by learning more about them!

Nancy believes these essential leader characteristics are choices that we make.

She believes exemplary leaders choose to be passionate, authentic, credible, and ethical.

  • Purpose and passion go hand in hand. To be an effective leader, you must first care. When you care deeply, you have the fire inside that will sustain you through difficult times.
  • To be authentic is to be genuine.  We speak from our own to the hearts of others and we are consistent.  This means in our relationships we are genuine and trustworthy.
  • Credibility means you do what you say you will do. It begins with being authentic and is manifested in the actions that you promise and deliver. You are accountable for what you say you will do.
  • Ethical leaders have human worth and dignity at the centre of their value system. They make decisions and take action in accord with these deeply held values and beliefs.

Know who you are!

Being a leader means knowing who you are at the deepest level, choosing to have the right values and acting on those values in your working, as well as your private, life.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leaders versus Managers – I think not!

Leadership versus Management?

On a LinkedIn Group that will be better not named, I saw the following subject suggested for a blog post.

“Leadership vs. Management: Highlights the differences between the task orientation of managers and the inspirational orientation of leaders.”

Now I know what they mean, but I thought how sad! Is one really to be set against the other and is there the difference in value implied?

Yes, at its core, leadership is about creating a vision for the organization and inspiring people to march out into the world to achieve it.

Leadership has fascinated people for many hundreds of years.

As soon as we could organise ourselves into groups we needed a leader. Someone had to decide in which direction to go for the hunt – democracy doesn’t appear to be in-built!

By the time of Plato and Socrates, the qualities required for leadership had become something of an obsession.

Leadership depends on a process of influence through which people are “inspired” to work towards common goals.

So the leader has the vision and inspires us to work together towards something.

So what of management?

Well management too has been around for millennia – try Sun Tzu’s The Art of War written in the 6th Century BC.

Management gets the job done – it gets us safely to our destination.

Management takes the vision and turns it into a blueprint – something we can create and a real vibrant destination. Management plans, organizes and resources!  It creates and nurtures the team for the journey.   Management ensures that what is delivered is of the right quality and that we get to our destination intact.

The verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The number managed (handled) can range from one person in a small firm to hundreds of thousands in a multinational company.

Managers are artists and craftspeople creating with the most volatile material known, the human spirit.

So next time you think about the task orientation of managers and the “inspirational” orientation of leaders remember this.  A president of the United States had the vision that man would go to the moon but it was managers, lots and lots of talented managers, that got us there.

A question!

In my view, managers and leaders need each other.  They should not in some way be set against each other. In my experience excellent managers are as scarce as excellent leaders in this world.

Well that is my view, but what do you think?

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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