Limiting beliefs in leadership – 7 ways to improve your leadership mindset

Limiting beliefs in leadership – 7 ways to improve your leadership mindset- Julia Ngapo Business Coaching

Limiting beliefs in leadership – 7 ways to improve your leadership mindset

One of the biggest frustrations of leadership is having an idea of your personal and organisational goals, but feeling “stuck”. Rooted to the status quo and not necessarily sure of why. Perhaps you have worked to improve your leadership mindset

but now find something is getting in the way.

Could this sticking point be down to your own self-sabotaging behaviour? Those limiting beliefs that we may not even be aware of, but that drive the possibilities we allow ourselves and which are a direct result of our belief system.

Often these beliefs are instilled in us in childhood, albeit unconsciously. Perhaps they come from familial, cultural or societal expectations; we know what is required of us and do our best to conform, but in so doing, create certain “rules” around our values, beliefs and, consequently, our behaviour.

However, what is common to all self-limiting beliefs is the fundamental, unconscious notion that we are just not good enough; we’re not capable of making the grade; and we are somehow lacking.

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight 7 common limiting beliefs that I often experience when coaching leaders and which severely impact their leadership mindset.

Limiting Beliefs in Leadership – 7 ways to improve your leadership mindset

  1. “I don’t have any limiting beliefs” – Perhaps the biggest limiting belief of all! We all experience limiting beliefs at some time or another and denying that you have any could suggest that your self-awareness needs improvement.

Developing a strong leadership mindset is dependent upon developing sufficient self-awareness of your behavioural and personality traits, the things that motivate you and those that trigger a stress response and being confident enough to be authentic in your values and actions.

It is therefore important to reflect on your brand of negative belief by looking at your past experiences. When was the last time you felt “less than” or “not good enough”? How did that manifest in your actions, and what emotions did that produce in you?

  1. Perfectionism – Not only can this limiting belief seriously impact our path to success, and our leadership mindset, but seriously affects those around us. The belief that “if you want something done, you have to do it yourself” is extremely limiting.

Similarly, when things don’t go to plan, and perfectionism isn’t achieved, we can catastrophise, telling ourselves that because one particular element failed, we are failures, and not cut out for our leadership role. But here’s the thing. Perfectionism does not exist. It relies on elements outside of our realm of control.

Instead, ask yourself what “good enough” looks like. Give yourself and others permission to make mistakes and focus on the big picture, instead of micro-managing those around you. This allows you to focus on driving the organisation strategically, rather than being bogged down in every small detail.

  1. Having all the answers – Our position as leader usually comes as a direct result of our perceived knowledge, experience and competence. By definition, we are expected to be skilled in articulating the organisational vision and encouraging our followers to follow. We may have received investment in sharpening and honing these skills, and others look to us to have the answer, no matter what the question, right?

  2. So what happens when we don’t have the answer? Certainly, post-COVID leadership requires a new approach, and many leaders feel they are “building the ship as they sail” – they don’t have every answer to every question, and why should they?

Not knowing is a pre-requisite of curiosity, leading us to explore options, and innovate. Leaders who are prepared to embrace innovation also tend to be the leaders who ask for feedback from others, and action it. They understand the power of diversity in perspective and healthy debate and ultimately are the leaders who demonstrate agility in adapting to change.

  1. Time-Management. Have you ever uttered the words, “I’m too busy…”? When you crack the code to effective time management, the benefits are far-reaching. At the root of this limiting belief might be a reticence to delegate or ask for help. However, trusting in others’ ability to complete tasks, whilst both allowing them the freedom to ask questions and permitting them to make mistakes is key to growth.
  2. Excessive deliberation. Strategic planning is a prerequisite of effective leadership, but the danger comes when there is an overdose of caution, leading to a potentially crippling fear of failure. This inhibits the exploration of new ideas and ventures and can leave one prone to procrastination.

    This aversion to failure can stifle the essence of innovation, whilst the inability to view any bumps along the way as inevitable, limits the individual’s agility and flexibility in solving complex challenges. The result? Missed opportunities for growth, and expansion and the real danger of losing market share to competitors.
  3. Preferring a consistent pace. Post-pandemic leadership requires a far more agile and flexible approach, and leaders who fail to embrace this new style, preferring the hierarchical models of yesteryear, risk missing opportunities and stifling the growth of their people and their organisation.

    Being able to pivot to meet each new challenge is key in today’s business world, and leadership is much more about open communication, allowing everyone to share their opinions and perspectives in a bid to create a more effective, and more cohesive workplace.
  4. Being too reserved. A leader with too reserved a demeanour risks missing the opportunity to ignite their team’s greatness! If you lack passion in your objectives, then how can you expect your team to deliver? Instead, focus on effectively communicating the rationale behind any decision, and projecting a persona that brings your team together, demonstrates approachability and acts as a spark to others’ ingenuity and inspiration.

    Not only will you grow a team who are enthusiastic to work with you, and who share your vision of the future, but an environment where innovation and development flourish.

The good news is that whilst it can take commitment to move past any limiting beliefs and move into a more positive leadership mindset, it is within your grasp. Increased self-awareness can be transformational, and, once you move past these self-imposed limits, there is a whole vista of growth and opportunity waiting for you.

Of course, if you would like support in ridding yourself of any limiting beliefs, improving your self-awareness and improving your leadership mindset in general, then I am happy to help.
My executive coaching is available for you in 1:1 sessions, which are completely confidential and aimed at supporting you with any challenges you face in leadership and beyond. Book a call here to discuss how I can help.

Share This Blog Post

Leave a comment