Saturday, February 1, 2014

Leadership Types From Mindset, Carol Dweck

This is a chapter I loved reading from Carol Dweck's book 'Mindset - The New Psychology of Success'. Some highlights that I liked.

In one study on why certain business houses were thriving it was found that the type of a leader made a big difference. The leaders -
  • were self-effacing
  • asked questions
  • had the ability to confront brutal answers
  • looked failures in the eye (including their own)
  • maintained faith that they would succeed in the end.

They were also the types who were
  • always trying to improve
  • surrounded themselves with able people
  • asked what skills they and their company would need in the future
  • made plans grounded on facts
  • looked at mistakes
  • used feedback and altered strategies based on facts and feedback.

Since they were based on solid ground, and they were committed to long term growth, they maintained self-confidence.

Typically the team or company under a growth oriented leader brightens, expands, fills with energy and always believes in possibilities. Perfect.

Carol Dweck considered the styles of three corporate leaders - Jack Welch, Lou Gerstner and Anne Mulcahy.

On Welch -
  • he would always spend time at the front line
  • respected, learned and nurtured his front line employees as with others
  • believed in team work
  • was supportive and understanding
  • always selected people based on their mindset.
  • promoted growth (discouraged elitism)
  • believed and supported shared values
  • always shared credit.

Self-confidence is defined as having the courage to be open to change..
When Welch went for his CEO interview he made no promises except to promise to grow and develop.

On Gerstner -
  • always looked at people who used meetings to solve a problem
  • supported team work
  • rewarded people who helped their colleagues
  • linked bonuses to overall performances of the company and not individual performances
  • always demanded better execution and focused on getting the job done (not merely plan)
  • highly customer focused 

On Anne Mulcahy -
She learned the business - debt, inventory, taxes etc. She took large binders home to understand and predict how each decision would work out. When she first took over not many could answer questions like - what they did? Who was in charge? She soon changed that. Anne was tough but was also genuine enough to care for people and apologise to those who had to go. She kept the culture going - of retirement parties and retiree reunions. Always recognized passion and growth and not brilliance. And showed great gratitude for the people who made it possible.

A study is quoted where growth oriented leaders looked for honest opinions and encouraged disagreement. The idea of Groupthink is discussed here - a dangerous situation where everyone agrees either out of fear or a feeling of pointlessness.

Carol Dweck explores how growth oriented leaders looked at training.
  • realized that talent was a good starting point
  • committed to employee and own development
  • gave developmental coaching
  • noticed improvement in performances
  • welcomed critique.

Another interesting workshop is discussed where the leaders are asked the following
1) why is it important to understand that people can develop
2) think of their own areas in which they had low ability but where they now perform
3) Have them write to a struggling protégé on how to develop
4) recall how people learnt things that they thought they would never every do
While answering the above leaders were asked to reflect on how and why change took place.

Leaders who wish to foster a growth oriented environment may do well to follow these:
  • getting it across that skills are learnable
  • that the organization will recognize learning and perseverance, not just talent
  • provide feedback that promotes learning and future success
  • looks at managers as resources for learning
It is most important that the leader believes in his team and their capacity to deliver.

The bottom line is that they look for potential.


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