LEADERS: 7 Helpful and Unhelpful Beliefs & Their Impact

The beliefs we hold inform how we behave. One of the biggest challenges a leader will face is developing their self-awareness and situational awareness to enable them to understand the relationship between their beliefs and actions and the environment. This is the start of emotional intelligence and can develop an individuals ability to connect with, relate to and deliver through others.

A significant body of research shows that leaders who are able to uncover, explore and understand their current worldview achieve higher levels of success and performance.  I’d encourage you to explore the beliefs listed below with your mind open, consider your initial response and see where they sit with you.

Leadership Beliefs:

Leading By Example: Leadership defines culture, ‘the way things are done around here.’ Teams look to their leaders, adopting and imitating their practice, poor practices are emulated from the top. Protectionist: Leaders are judged by how they create performance. Dominating through overconfidence or insecurity limits performance. Great bosses create future leaders and are defined by their legacy.
Direction is Necessary: A clear and well-articulated direction that inspires people to deliver outside the boundaries of their role. Creating a clear vision, shared through stories provides a compass that empowers action and choices that add value. Leader Knows Best: Seeking ‘mini me’s’ and ‘yes people’ creates dangerous groupthink. By encouraging challenge, healthy debate and curiosity leaders develop creativity and fresh ideas. Share your vision and then enable staff to perform in their way.
Humanity: A belief in the value and potential of all people, providing equality of right and respect for all. Leadership without these beliefs fails to bring people together, motivate and engage with them – all you have is lip service. Weakness Focus: A deficit focus is by its nature reductionist. Engaging in positive practices and building strengths enable performance, increase motivation and business growth.
Accountability: Leadership defines and drives the action and approach of organisations. Defining relationships, results and boundaries. Leaders must understand the paradox of responsibility v’s accountability.


Managing the Lowest Denominator: Creating processes and practices that manage all employees due to the potential of poor performance creates unnecessary bureaucracy and slows performance. Create a culture that builds opportunities for the best performers.
Valuing Difference: Building through diversity, harnesses variety in thought and embraces the challenge of opposing styles and views. Businesses that do this disrupt markets and define new opportunities.


Managing Through Fear: Managers who wield a stick to control keep teams on edge. Often fearful and holding deficit beliefs they lack identity – which they substitute with a sense of power. Fear based leaders seek to transfer their low sense of self-worth onto others. Leadership impact equates to 70% of team morale.
Leadership is a Social Act: Organisations are a system of people; the leadership role (distinctly different from management) is the delivery of the organisational task through people. Holding a Scarcity Mindset: Seeing resources and opportunities as limited, options and share are finite.   A belief in growth potential and possibility creates explorative new thinking and choice.


Holding Honesty & Integrity: Organisations are living systems. Leadership failures to enact high values and morality and take difficult decisions create mistrust. Immoral leadership is often hidden but continues to impact the fabric of organisations. Letting the Small Stuff Slide: People see and notice the small stuff. Incongruence over small things undermines a leader’s authentic integrity and damages trust and reputation.


Why This is Important:

We pick up beliefs based on our experiences and they are adopted without challenge or conscious thought. Understanding beliefs help a leader to develop a chosen leadership approach and identity.  This leadership philosophy enables the leaders to define how they respond and behave in a way that is consistent and authentic and that also serves them.  When leaders change positions or organisations one of the key factors that support their transition is the ability to reexamine themselves and their philosophy.  To see where changes need to be made to develop their performance in their new role.   

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Contact us if you would like to discuss how Vantage People could help you or your business.

Jemma Barton,

Director & Coach


T: +44 7717 131 434


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