Moment of Impact: Three Key Characteristics of Successful Self-Directed Leaders
The business climate has undergone a dramatic sea change over the past two decades, making the task of leadership not only more challenging but also more exhausting. Leading people today involves dealing with the uncertainty and unpredictability fueled by less money, a do more with less culture and the always present spectre of terrorism.
Many business leaders today feel ill-equipped to handle such issues as employees made less productive due to fear, uncertain and fluctuating revenue quotas, workplace bullying and organizational downsizing. Now more than ever even the best leaders often feel disempowered both emotionally and mentally.
But every leader knows in his heart of hearts that the only point of power is the present moment and only by taking control of any leadership brand can you transform mental and emotional chaos and uncertainty into order and confidence.
Learning how to practice the principles of self-directed leadership means becoming so aware that you decide what to think and base your resulting actions on self-directed thinking rather than being swayed by the business environment, the opinion of others or a situation that is only momentary.
If you are ready to take full control of your current leadership brand and transform yourself into a more effective self-directed leader, then you need to practice these three key characteristics exhibited by successful self-directed executives.
Key #1: Achieve the Mental State of a Beginner Rather than An Expert
Learn from the wise words of Shunryu Suzuki: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Practice viewing any situation with a mind that is open. Ironically, the more experienced you become, the greater your chances of getting derailed by seeming to know it all, which quickly becomes a trap. Self-directed leaders avoid living robotically in favor of achieving the mental state known in Zen Buddhism as beginner’s mind.
Key #2: Activate, Cultivate and Rely on Your Mental Strengths
When you are self-directed and aware of all things around you, you can apply those inner forces called mental strengths to carry you through difficult times. True mental strength gives you flexible rather than rigid thinking, crucial to persevering in the face of adversity and enabling you to make the most constructive decisions possible.
Key #3: Be on the Offense Rather than Defense of Thinking
Offensive thinking involves taking charge of your mind in order to use your thought processes to find the solution, unaffected by outer circumstances or how others may be trying to influence you mentally and emotionally. The self-directed leader knows how to think through a problem and drill down to its core causes rather than blindly reacting to outside stimuli. As Price Pritchett says in “Hard Optimism”, “People’s thought processes are the most important performance factor.”
© 2014 Jennifer Touma Mindscape