Musthafa Ebadi
Leadership Is A Mindset
by Musthafa Ebadi on January 23rd, 2014

 Recently I was out for lunch with one of our clients and one of the areas that he identified as a challenge for his organization is lack of leadership. He told me that they spend enormous amount of money and resources on training their staff on leadership yet they don’t seem to be getting any traction. I started to ask him few questions and it became clear to me that the fundamental problem wasn’t lack of leadership but rather lack of leaders.

Leadership has turned into one of those words for everyone. If you poke around the Internet about leadership it would lead you to believe that leadership remains inextricably tied to the likes of Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg. Women and men both have it, so it seems, but it manifests differently.

I asked him if people in his organization had the state of mind of leaders. I explained that leadership is the day to day function and mindset of a leader, not a skillset that requires training or reading material. Its not a position but an attitude.

As Robin Sharma has stated in his book The Leader Who Had No Title you don’t need a title to be a leader, and a title doesn’t make you a leader.  Mr. Sharma continues "Regardless of what you do within your organization and the current circumstances of your life, the single most important fact is that you have the power to show leadership."

I emphasized that leaders are born and not trained. If someone has a mindset of a leader than training on leadership effectiveness, role of a leader, how to lead differently etc can help them polish their ability but if they lack the mindset none of the above will make them a leader. It's not different than how diamonds are formed - a specific type of coal is cut and polished not any coal.

He asked my defintion of leadership.  I told him that its mindset of responsibility, ownership, inspiring, influencing, and motivating yourself & others,  setting example, and continued pursuit of making people and things around you better without expectations of any materialistic gains. Its knowing your own values and being able to translate that into a vision for yourself and others. The idea of  leadership connotes a characteristic rather than a skill. 

If you require leadership in your organization bring people onboard that have leadership mindset and characteristics, and then supplement them with training and resources to polish them. Training and resources are supplements to character but should not be core of your leadership - leaders should be the core!  

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post. 

Thanks for reading! 

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