5 Things Great Leaders Believe

Strong leaders have long known that leading doesn’t start with actions, or even thoughts. Instead, it starts with what leaders believe.

Covey calls these beliefs our moral compass. Peter Senge calls them mental models. They are the lens through which we view the world. They influence how we perceive and respond to all that happens.

These beliefs are not corporate values we aspire to, but instead the principles that determine what we think, say, and do. I often think of Enron, and their corporate values of communication, respect, integrity, and excellence. For them and many others, their values represent things that they were have the most difficult time doing.

So what do great leaders believe? What mental models guide them? Here are five principles I consistently see great leaders believe in and act on.

1. Great leaders believe a person’s greatest motivation comes from living their purpose.

When I chase after results, for the sake of results, my energy wanes and I struggle. When I am fueled and inspired by a purposeful mission I am passionate and fully engaged in my work.

2. Great leaders believe people can do whatever they set their minds to.

For many, the greatest impediment is self-doubt. It is more powerful than gravity for some. I believe that whatever my mind “can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I also understand that success is not about me, it’s about the team, it’s about us

3. Great leaders believe everyone is worthy of deep regard and compassion.

I see people not as objects to be used for my advantage, but as remarkable individuals of great worth and value. I strive to treat everyone with dignity and respect. When I hold others accountable, I am motivated by my love for them and their potential.

4. Great leaders choose to respond productively to whatever happens to them.

Things often don’t work out as I think they should, however, I choose to learn and grow from all my experiences. I realize that when I harbor anger and frustration towards someone, I am actually hurting myself and limiting my ability to grow and develop

5. Great leaders believe they can increase their abilities and performance through diligent practice.

Greatness is not born,I create it through diligent, disciplined practice. I work consistently at improving my greatest strengths and addressing those flaws that most hold me back.

Take Action: Reflect on how well your beliefs match up. In particular, consider times when your words or actions were contrary to these beliefs and ask yourself why. Remember, you can rewire your mind for greatness.