The Thrive! Blog...

April 18, 2011Leaders challenge their own mental models.

Leaders are responsible for generating results, or Outcomes, as illustrated in the Thinking-Action-Outcomes™ model below.  Those results are determined by the Actions that leaders take.  Hence, most leaders and management development courses focus their attention on technique and actions – more effective ways to set goals, feedback and coaching tactics, how to inspire people or how to hold difficult conversations.

Possessing those skills are necessary, but absolutely not sufficient for developing great leaders.  Great leadership requires that leaders challenge their own thinking and mental models – the assumptions, beliefs, values and perceptions that drive decision-making and action in the first place.

Simply, we can teach effective listen skills all day long, but if the leader doesn’t give a damn about the person they are listening to, then the leader won’t hear a word…and the other person will know it.  On the other hand, if the leader truly cares about the other person and their point-of-view, then s/he will get the message almost in spite of how flawed his/her listening skills might be.

Real leaders are able to examine their decisions and actions to truly understand why they act the way they do, and understand how their own mental models have more influence over the outcomes than the specific actions they took or decisions they made.  Only then, can they fully engage people in the organization and achieve the highest level of results.

Combining those 5 elements with effective management practices – like goal-setting, coaching, etc. – result in real leadership that engages the organization and gets the herd moving roughly West.  The Duke would be proud!