How Your Values Impact Your Leadership Mindset

#mindset #mindset of a leader #values Apr 07, 2022

In this week’s podcast, I talked about the 3 B’s of Leadership. The first is to have a “belief” or beliefs in something or someone (and hopefully yourself) that you can achieve what you wish.

But where do these come from?

In their groundbreaking leadership book, The Leadership Challenge, authors James M. Kouzes & Barry Posner do a really deep dive into what behaviors, skills and values the most-respected and admired leaders possess. Just a couple of the findings from their thousands of case studies concluded that above all leadership is about creating a relationship AND is a learned skill.

If you have not read this book, I truly encourage you to do so. It’s now been out so long, that there are podcasts, audiobooks and summaries about it on the internet. So, there’s a way to learn of its contents even if you are not a traditional reader.

In one of their exercises, they talk about how values define you as a person AND ultimately as a leader. I couldn’t agree more. Every significant leader knows and embodies their values daily.  Your values define your mindset which in turn creates your thoughts; in turn, your thoughts create your actions which show to others what your leadership is all about. If you have not taken the time to reflect and journal what you value as a person, you likely don’t think about your mindset. If you haven’t taken the time to consider where your mindset is (good/bad; half-empty/half-full cup; or fixed vs growth) then your 80,000+ thoughts a day are impacting your actions as a leader automatically.  

For years as a chief of police, I am certain that I didn’t consciously consider my values, mindset, thoughts or actions. Oh sure, I thought I did – we all do. But I am certain as I reflect that many of the decisions I made in both my personal and professional life would have gone much better, and been way more effective, if I had been consciously aware of where my mindset and thoughts were at the time I made critical decisions. It’s easy to do in the “fog” of work. As a leader, we have so much coming at us in any given moment that it’s truly hard to take that step back and say to yourself, “Wait a minute. Let’s get our head around this so that we respondand don’t react.” So, how can we take steps to avoid this? Well, I am no guru, but over the years I’ve learned from my own scars and by watching others to suggest a few things that have helped me make better and more responsive and less reactive decisions.

This week, I challenge each of you to try a couple of things:

First, take some solitary time with a journal or favorite notebook and think about what you value in your life? Your family members, your job position, your health, your pet? Write those things down. Then spend some time thinking about why each is of value to you. If it’s a person, what do you want them to remember you by? If it’s work or community-related, how do you want your co-workers, community to remember you? And so on.  You’ve now established your core values that are unique to you. Write them all down in a place you will be able to view daily or at a moment’s notice.

Next, each day take just a few minutes (preferably before you get to your workplace or interact with those you value) and consciously consider where your mindset is at that moment. Is it positive or negative? Why is it where it is? If it’s negative, what can you do to shift it to a more neutral posture? Is there a specific public figure you find motivational that will help you change your mindset in that moment? Listen to it? Is there an activity you can do like exercise that always makes you feel more positive.

The key here is to be mindful of where you are in any moment. In doing so, you will develop the personal techniques that allow you to be more mindful in any situation no matter how stressful and make the best decisions you can as a leader for your people and your organization.


Until next week,


If you would like to learn more about mindset and how it is impacted by your personal values and, in turn, how mindset impacts your leadership, be sure to check out our any of our live or eLearning courses where I do a deeper dive into how I believe mindset is the foundation of significant leaders.

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