Leadership is the transfer of thought, which happens when people adopt your values, beliefs, attitudes and goals. Think of this as your team’s “mental architecture”.
We know that thoughts influence emotions, and that emotions influence behavior.
Whatever people think, influences how they feel, and whatever they feel, determines what they “do”.
The “mental architecture” explains how people view their job, deal with feedback and how they work with others.
A healthy mental architecture will help people stay engaged and avoid burnout; even during times of uncertainty and change.
Values are the foundation of any mental architecture, and the most important things make up your “value system”. These include the things that lead to organizational, team, and individual success.
This value system will influence your team’s focus, priorities and choices, so the system needs to be clearly defined, fully explained, and constantly reinforced.
The mental architecture includes beliefs, attitudes and goals; which influence how people view change and deal with setbacks.
Here are 5-ways to install your mental architecture -
- Live your values, because actions speak louder than words.
- Be consistent, because mixed messages are confusing, and create doubt.
- Be redundant, because repetitive thoughts are more believable.
- Use role models; because they’re the thought leaders you want others to follow.
- Don’t make exceptions, because you compromise your values, beliefs, attitudes and goals.
Your team’s mental architecture is like good software, because it’s always being refined and improved. Updates should be common, and you need to fix any bugs in the system.
A good mental architecture is open-minded, and it adapts over time. It’s inclusive and collaborative. So take input from your team, and incorporate their feedback as much as possible. That’s a good way to make your thinking - “their thinking”.
Thoughts and emotions are contagious, and that’s why rumors and gossip travel so fast. In times of uncertainty, people begin to question their values, beliefs, attitudes and goals.
Your mental architecture becomes your coaching platform. When people struggle, you want to understand how they’re thinking about the problem.
Don’t solve the problem for them. Just help them apply a healthy mental architecture, by reinforcing the right values, beliefs, attitudes and goals.
A good mental architecture becomes your culture. When people share the same “values”, “beliefs”, “attitudes” and “goals”, they “think”, “feel” and “do” things as a team, and that’s what culture is.
So remember, leadership is the transfer of thought. And a team’s morale, engagement and performance, are a reflection of the mental architecture their “thought leader” has enabled.