Change this Mindset to be a Better Leader

5 Ways to be Influential in a Changing World.


“If you’re drowning, you make a lousy lifeguard,” Seth Godin recently told Tim Ferriss. And while we’re quick to recognize this fact as it relates to beach safety, we’re less adept at recognizing the risk in our own companies. Too often we fail to see that as we push a a productivity-obsessed culture, it leaves a leadership vacuum in its wake.

Great leaders all have one thing in common: they help us to arrive at better places than we could reach on our own. Or as David Foster Wallace put it,

“A real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.”

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And yet most managers are rarely given this opportunity to lead. They’re drowned in daily tasks that focus on the imminent without a thought of moving in new directions. They’re time is consumed with unnecessarily babysitting people through their daily responsibilities and preserving today’s environment.

But that environment is changing. The target is no longer fixed. And in an unstable landscape we can no longer rely on preserving today’s version of ourselves or our companies.

In short, the job of a manager needs to change. The productivity-centric model is fast becoming obsolete. Instead, managers need to act less like employers. And start acting more like entrepreneurs.

Employers Solve Problems. Entrepreneurs Find Opportunities

“Major breakthroughs come from the correct mind-set. It’s an attitude — an opportunistic attitude. People who make breakthroughs are always opportunity-focused. People who don’t, aren’t. It’s that simple.” — Jay Abraham, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition.

Employers focus their best people on solving problems. And in doing so, they donate their time and their best talent to restoring the equilibrium of yesterday.