What is the leadership mindset?

Jim Taylor, PhD writes about the leadership mindset in Psychology Today,

I define mindset as the attitudes, beliefs, and expectations you hold that act as the foundation of who you are, how you lead, and the ways in which you interact with your team.

I think he offers us a terrific working definition and wanted to explore it from the shepherding perspective today.  Let us begin.


As we approach our daily work, we intentionally look to produce more positive energy.  As we lead we are do it as an act of service which requires bringing our best selves to our work daily.

We take to heart Jon Gordon’s rule #7 in the Energy Bus that states,

Enthusiasm attracts more Passengers and Energizes them during the Ride.


We believe the best about people.  We respect differences.  We hold our people accountable for developing their gifts to produce the greatest value to others.  We encourage others to grow in leadership through actively positioning them with opportunities to serve.

We live what we believe.  We don’t expect that everyone will agree with us.  That is not the point.  We live with integrity and in ways that bring value to those we choose to serve using our talents and giftings.  We are committed to learning, growing, and giving.  People that watch us see our values in action.   Our behaviors are consistent in ways that people can recognize us regardless of where we are living; at home, at work, or in our community.

Who are we here for?

A servant leader understands that a gift is neither to be hidden nor neglected.  Rather, a gift is meant to be activated, developed and given away for the purpose of furthering the giving cycle.  The more it is used the more value it produces.  That is how gratitude spreads.

We recognize that some giftings only work when mixed with others.   Knowing who we are here for helps us further develop our gifts in environments where they make the greatest impact.


Who you are?  There is no one like you.  No one. Not one.  You are unique.  Only you can do what you were created to do.   We are not the product of our work.  Instead, the best work we produce comes as a result of who we are.   We discover our treasure when we submit to the promptings of our heart and commit to living our purpose authentically.

How you lead?  Are we creating opportunity or taking opportunity?   Too many leaders act as though the opportunities they have been entrusted are for themselves.  Some think that they have a position exclusively as the reward for past success.

The shepherd leader doesn’t think this way.  Instead, we understand that we are stewards of opportunity.   The best leaders expand their influence for the purpose of helping others.  They appreciate that they have been given a precious gift.  It is the privilege of helping others grow, creating more safety for teams to experiment, and teach those ready to learn.  They also lend their authority to help others overcome what they could not do alone.

When those in charge give us an opportunity, it is with the expectation we will fulfill the promise of making the organization stronger.

Ways we interact with our teams

  • How we remove impediments.  Do we remove them all or do we include them in the process of removing them?  We must remember that authority alone doesn’t scale, we need to teach how to get things done without title.  If we don’t tomorrow will look like today.
  • How we recognize and appreciate them.  Do we catch our people doing the right things?  How are we doing with writing thank you cards and giving verbal praise in private and in public?

The leader others want to follow understands that their role is to serve the team, not be served by them.

  • How we counsel them to grow their career.  People care about their future.  How much time are we spending with those we influence talking about what they are learning will help them in their careers and in life?
  • How we provide feedback & feed-forward.  I like feedback, but it is not as helpful as feed-forward.  Spending too much time thinking about how something happened in the past doesn’t give us as much value as a conversation around how to make the future brighter and better.


The leader mindset is developed on purpose.  From my experience, only the best leaders do this.  When you find one, I encourage you to pay attention to what they do and how they lead.  It takes time to develop beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that achieve remarkable results in ways that improve the lives of those they influence.   Walking this path is part of what shepherding is all about.

Shepherding: The art of becoming the leader others want to follow