Four Leadership Mindsets That Rock

Leading on a small team or leading on a big team, we are often faced with challenges that we didn’t see coming. All of sudden we recognize that the direction the team is moving is totally off course. In some of my workshops leaders even feel defeated or stuck in the middle of a road with no obvious cross streets to walk down. Then the words start to fly:

“I tried that approach before and it doesn’t work.”

 “That’s impossible!”

 “It’s not our responsibility. Ask the other team.”

“No one cares or values what I am doing. I am just a cog in a wheel.”

Just like glass balls that drop and shatter, so can teams falter and sense they are broken. In both cases, the shards of glass can’t remain lying around and the collapsed team can’t continue on the same course. The glass must be gathered together and removed. And if we want to lead and help our team reposition itself we need to change our thinking.

Here are four leadership mindsets that rock in challenging times:


All teams go off track but that doesn’t mean we need to accept the current situation. There is always something that can be changed to allow a failing project or mangled work relationship to be better. Maybe not perfect. Just more manageable.


How many times have you or your teammates screamed out: “We tried this one before and it doesn’t work”? Thousands of times? It’s crazy how we are so fixed in never revisiting a strategy because we were unsuccessful in making it work in a previous situation. Things change. New information may actually lead to better results this time. By tweaking one piece of the deliverable may make the outcome highly successful. A recent team I worked with looked at an obstacle in a slightly different perspective and were thrilled with their results. They shared their excitement with the words: “We never thought about it in that way.”


In order for leaders to transform their mindset from thinking “this is impossible” to “there’s a solution here”,  they need to take a hard look at their strengths, talents and available resources. Here are some helpful questions to ask:

  • Do I have the right skills to tackle this challenge?
  • Would additional training or experience do the trick?
  • What are my time constraints?
  • Who else on the team might have the right strengths to help me on this project?
  • Should I set up a coffee to talk to the team member or boss I am having conflict with?


A critical mindset for leaders  to have is that every team member is important to the success of the team’s achievements. When team players feel valued and appreciated they will produce greater results. They will be more likely to roll up their sleeves when deadlines are approaching and offer their brains and brawn. One of my favorite mathematical equations to describe the benefit of teamwork is: 1+1=3. Yes! We can achieve far more as a team than the individuals working alone.

What leadership mindsets have you seen that rock?

(Image credit: Pixabay)

6 thoughts on “Four Leadership Mindsets That Rock

  1. Great advice, Terri! It’s too easy to throw up our hands and simply fall back on “I’ve already tried that.” I particularly like “No derailment is unsurmountable”…truly words of wisdom for all leaders who run into barriers. It’s all about developing a mind that is strong enough to keep looking for ways to solve the problem…

  2. What a great point about “developing a mind that is strong enough to keep looking for ways to solve the problem”. Leaders do need to build strong problem solving skills and not give in to setbacks or disappointments. They need to look through a different lens and be open-minded to experimenting.

    Thanks LaRae!

  3. It’s amazing what happens when you shift your mindset. Teams and individuals go from being stuck to having options. I found that the real trick is to not only adopt that mindset as the leader but help the team embrace it too. They can’t say one thing to the team and another behind closed doors. I love “No derailment is insurmountable!” When we believe it, it becomes the truth.


  4. I agree with you that when a leader has a “believe it” mindset the team will have one too if there is trust amongst team members. It also doesn’t need to be a senior leader to set the tone and direction. Any leader within a team can help reposition a direction of a project if they can help their team members see the value in a new strategy.

    Thanks Alli for your helpful comments!

  5. “These will, these will rock you!” Great reminders Terri! The whole list is spot on, but number 1 is my favorite. There are always options, if you are creative and willing to do something uncommon. In one of my former positions my team had a deck stacked against them as the business changed and resources changed. Then I visited one of our vendors, looking for a long-term solution. And ended up discovering a process that I could implement immediately. That process created less stress for the people on the team, and significantly improved customer service and results. (We still needed the expensive long-term solution I had gone seeking.) But that process filled the gap and helped us achieve greater results than all of the other teams in the country.

  6. I love your story Chery and how you tackled your challenges straight on even for a short period of time. When leaders acknowledge that a team derailment can be cured in steps they will be taking critical action. Those initial moves will often lead to exactly the full change they need. Leading is staying open and trying out different perspectives. You would have never identified the shorter term solution from visiting your client had you not allowed your mindset to stay positive.

    Thanks for sharing Chery!

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