The first part of this blog series mentioned some of the challenges that mid-level leaders need to navigate because of the changing landscape of work. As promised, this part highlights the three mindsets that are critical to help the leaders manage these challenges and perform their role effectively.
At this point it is important to highlight to clarify the reason due to which focus is on the mindset and not on specific capabilities or competencies: Taking the constantly changing business environment into consideration, we believe that the leadership skills, competencies, and capabilities needed to perform one’s role effectively will keep evolving. However, the mindset will stand and continually play a critical role in the smooth functioning of the middle managers.
Now that we have understood the criticality of the mindset of the mid-level leaders, let us explore the three mindsets- Hope & Positive Orientation, Inclusion and Growth in greater detail.
- Hope & Positive Orientation Mindset: In the current times, middle managers have a much tougher job to do today than they had in the past. As they continue to manage a disruptive business environment, they need to constantly instill hope first in themselves and then in others. Operating with hope can unleash tremendous positive energy and significantly impact the performance of an organization. In other words, building psychological capital that helps to deal with diverse situations is critical for the mid-level leaders. Herein it is important to understand that this mindset goes beyond resilience which involves bouncing back from an adverse situation- this is about Hope which emphasizes on bouncing forward.
- Growth Mindset: Thriving on challenges and breaking the shackles of the past are critical for the middle leaders as they navigate in more turbulent waters. Having belief in one’s own and others’ ability to grow and develop is core to such situations as it helps in stretching from a current capacity state to a desired future state. Sidestepping the common mindset (in which your best prospect is to become the averageof your operating environment), a growth orientation encourages curiosity and next-level commitment. In other words, middle managers need to constantly look out for opportunities and identify ways in which performance can be enhanced. This will then help the organization to become more agile, innovative, and disruptive.
- Inclusion Mindset: As middle managers lead across hybrid work models, increased diversity and boundaryless organizations, they must adopt an inclusive mindset. Herein, inclusion is not just about diversity of gender, thought, experience, perspective towards work and ways of approaching a task. It goes way beyond this and involves including team members and making them feel as if they are a part of something big. Instilling purpose, efficiently leading remote & hybrid teams, driving performance & supporting development, and fostering trust as well as collaboration are thus essential elements of this mindset.
Our experience of over 2 decades of working on mid-level leadership development across industries corroborates that the Mid-level leaders can enhance or dilute sustainable growth in an organization. Adopting these three mindsets can help them to enable their organisations achieve greater heights!