5 Mindset Attributes for Effective Leadership and Management
The Business Acumen Canvas is a model used by managers and leaders to view business acumen’s multi-faceted attributes from a holistic standpoint, including your mindset. When you review the Business Acumen Canvas, you’ll notice eight characteristics associated with mindset (strategic thinking, taking action, etc.).
While these are vital building blocks needed for business acumen excellence, there are some other areas that senior executives look for in emerging leaders and managers. Think about these as behaviors that have both been internalized and demonstrated by effective leaders. Learning and developing these may be a challenge, but with focused attention – and a little coaching – you can cultivate these. There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for how and when these are acquired. However, by considering this list of behaviors, you may be able to consider ways to adopt these.
- Continuous learning. Each and every experience you have contributes to your repertoire of personal and professional resources. Learning all the time means that every environment in which you find yourself becomes a “learning laboratory” for building business acumen. The scope of all this learning includes learning about your customers’ businesses and how they do what they do, as well as increasing your knowledge of the market environment in which your company operates. After a while, others in your organization will see you as a knowledgeable person who shares insights, teaches, guides, and encourages others to learn continuously.
- Networking and bridge-building. All great executives know a lot of people in a lot of places. They find centers of knowledge and experience and cultivate relationships with those “go-to” resources – and – they know how to direct others to seek out these storehouses of excellence. This “networking” is also part of the process to build political capital, an asset that helps you build bridges to resources that will help you get your job done. Successful leaders constantly work to build a broad network, make friends, radiate their values, and ultimately know whom to contact and where to turn at every stage in their journey.
- The mensch factor. There’s a Yiddish expression with roots in German that means “human.” It roughly translates into being a good and eminently decent person who exhibits the kinds of traits we would want in a good friend, colleague, or family member. The word mensch is almost onomatopoetic when used frequently enough that everyone gets it: be kind; be fair; be humorous; be helpful; do what’s right. Be a mensch.
- Serving customers. Although not on traditional leadership radar scopes, expanding your mindset includes the formation of working relationships with customers. These relationships provide you with valuable insights into how they think, what’s happening in their organization, and what’s happening in their industry and with their competitors. They also educate you about your competitors. CEOs and other key executives in your company do this with their peers in customer companies. It stands to reason that managers and leaders should pursue the same kinds of relationships with customers who buy, use, or influence the purchase of products.
- Empowering others. One of the most overused and misunderstood expressions in corporate life is the word empowerment. If a project team is properly chartered and has been provided with the appropriate authority, accountability, and resources for that team, and if the team delivers great results with minimal oversight in a highly communicative environment, then that team will be said to have been empowered. Empowerment does not, however, sit on its own island. Empowerment is a give-and-take process built on the trust between manager or leader and team members, the commitments that are continually met (demonstrating strong values), and the results that are delivered.
There may not be a step-by-step guide for any one of these items. However, they can be harnessed and practiced. You see, within the corporate realm, management, peers, and teams are constantly evaluating your behavior, interactions, and contributions, either formally or informally, against these characteristics.