The Mind Of The Leader

“By understanding how their own mind works and training it for the most essential qualities, leaders can lead themselves effectively first, in order to better lead their people and tap into their human need for meaning, fulfillment and human connectedness,” explain Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter, authors of the book, The Mind Of The Leader.

Their book is based on extensive research, including assessments of more than 35,000 leaders and interviews with 250 C-level executives.

The authors found that three mental qualities are essential to becoming effective leaders. Leaders must be:
  • Mindful – being present and attentive to their employees’ needs. Being focused versus distracted. Being aware versus being on autopilot.
  • Selfless – to model cultures based on growth and learning instead of ego. Being selfless versus ego-centered. Being confident versus diffident.
  • Compassionate – to show their employees they have their backs. Being kind versus indifferent. Being wise versus ignorant. 
The Mind Of The Leader takes you on a journey, using real-world inspirational examples of successful companies, that begins with leading yourself and ends with leading your people. Each chapter includes quick and easy exercises, tips and self-reflections that will help you train your mind to achieve different goals ranging from more focus to self-awareness.

“Leadership needs to redefined to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce,” explain Hougaard and Carter. “The younger generation of workers are increasingly looking for meaning, connectedness and purpose at work. For many, a good paycheck and great benefits aren’t enough if they don’t feel they are making a difference.”

Hougaard’s and Carter’s research shows that leaders who are more human, more relatable, more present, kind and selfless, are better able to attract and retain workers and secure better financial results.

One of the more interesting findings covered in the book is about Ego and Leadership. Hougaard and Carter explain that the downsides of a big ego makes you:
  • Vulnerable to criticism – ego creates a defensive wall around you that prevents you from learning from your mistakes.
  • Susceptible to manipulation – because an inflated ego makes you predictable, because it drives your behavior in obvious ways. And, when you’re a victim of your own need to be seen as great, you end up being led into making decisions that may or may not be good for yourself, your employees and your organization. 
Plus, it:
  • Narrows your field of vision – and makes it hard for you to see and accept new opportunities and you fall victim to the limitations of your own success. And, the moment you believe that past successful behavior will lead to present and future success, you’ve stagnated.
  • Corrupts your behavior and causes you to act against your values
Hougaard is the Founder and Managing Director of Potential Project, a global provider of leadership and organizational effectiveness solutions based on training the mind. Carter is an International Partner and North American Director for Potential Project.


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