In this article we introduce an effective and enlightening scoring approach for leaders and teams to talk about leadership mindset. We also describe how to use this approach in a powerful exercise with your team.
It’s an approach we’ve used successfully to shift the mindsets of hundreds of leaders.
If you lead others, this is something you should know about.
Pinning down mindset can be difficult
Research shows big change initiatives fail when leadership mindset fails. These initiatives include turnarounds, new product launches and acquisition integrations.
Thus it follows that talking directly about mindset is critical. But it can be tricky.
For example, a leader following directive instincts bluntly demands that team members, “Get more accountable!”
The inevitable result? People get upset.
It is beside the point whether you see this upset as no big deal, a fair response, or a knee-jerk defense mechanism. The point is upset blocks learning and collaboration, which are both critical to change initiatives succeeding.
Mindset scores make it easier to talk about mindset
So what leaders need are simple approaches to talk about mindset that don’t trigger psychic antibodies. Mindset scores provide exactly this approach.
What follow are four ways of scoring mindset. Let’s begin with accountability.
I. Levels of Accountability
Read the following scale.
5. +++++ Accountable for creating big breakthroughs towards a larger vision
4. ++++ Accountable for developing others as leaders
3. +++ Accountable for results of the team
2. ++ Accountable for keeping commitments as defined by role(s)
1. + Accountable for self
This is a developmental model
Each level builds on previous levels. For example, this scale implies leaders need to learn to be accountable for themselves (1), so they can then become accountable for their roles (+2), so they can then become accountable for the results of their teams (++3), and so on.
This model implies that we are all on a developmental journey. When leaders remind themselves and others that it is a journey, and then provide feedback in that context, they are less likely to create upset or to stir up the anger monkeys.
Try it out
To make this come alive for you, please do the following. Think of a team you belong to and, using the five levels of accountability, ask:
- How do you score your accountability mindset on that team?
- How do you score your teammate’s mindsets?
- How do you expect teammates to rate you?
- How do you rate the overall team?
Interpret your results
Here is an example. Imagine you receive these scores:
- from you: 3.5
- from colleague A: 2.0, colleague B: 3.0, colleague C: 2.5
Your team’s scores:
- from you: 3.0
- from colleague A: 2.5, colleague B: 3.0, colleague C: 3.5
These scores tell you that you see yourself as more being more accountable for the team’s results and for developing others as leaders than your colleagues see you.
Guess what? You’ve just received feedback that you’re not where you think you are. Mindset scores reveal your developmental edge: where you need to focus to achieve higher performance.
These scores also reveal the kinds of leadership competencies your team - as a shared culture - need to work on for higher performance. The team is, ‘(3) accountable for results.’ The team’s developmental edge is to become, ‘(4) accountable for developing others as leaders.’
This is a simple conversation about mindset that leads to focused initiatives with high probability of increasing sustained performance.
More mindset scores
Do you see how efficient and direct these mindset scores are for communicating what the right leadership mindset looks like? And what needs to happen next to get there?
Here are three more scales to add to your team leadership arsenal. Read through them and apply them.
II. Levels of Authenticity
5. +++++ Authentically pushes their developmental edge
4. ++++ Authentically articulates aspirations and strategies to win
3. +++ Authentically manages limitations and blind spots
2. ++ Authentically serves their role and able to depersonalize
Each level transcends and includes preceding levels.
III. Levels of Assertiveness
5. +++++ Asserts a worldview that inspires and transforms others
4. ++++ Asserts breakthroughs for their organization
3. +++ Asserts solutions that work for their team
2. ++ Asserts solutions that work for their role
IV. Levels of Attentiveness
5. +++++ Attentive to the success of the industry and community
4. ++++ Attentive to aligning towards team and organizational purpose
3. +++ Attentive to the actions and success of peers and team
2. ++ Attentive to the duties and success in their role
1. + Attentive to their personal needs and comfort
At Growth River we call these mindset scores the 4A’s: Accountability, Authenticity, Assertiveness and Attentiveness.
Leaders tell us the 4A’s give them the words for discussing mindset they did not have access to before. Peer-to-peer feedback is one of the characteristics of higher performing teams, and the 4A’s make it easier to implement.
Seriously, take few minutes and try them with your team. You will be amazed how powerful they are – how they provide teams access to uncommon conversations that are at the core of performance.