All leadership strengths can be run in a reactive or creative structure of mind. The expression of strengths by a leader running an organization can be truly effective… or not. It depends a lot on the developmental stage of the leader, their mental operating system, and how they perceive the world.
To fully understand what these “structures of mind” are, let’s look at how the adult mind matures. According to most developmental psychologists, in order for adolescents to move successfully into the adult world, they must merge with their current culture.
Young adults who join the working world seek to define themselves by forming mental models about how things work in the world, in their jobs, in society. Their developmental task is to succeed within the current culture and system. This is an outside-in process.
In the first stages of adult maturity, we try to fit in. We strive to perpetuate current reality not to change it. This is normal development for everyone but that eventually begins to be insufficient for those who wish to grow and develop beyond this stage.
The next developmental challenge for adults who mature is to transition to a Creative structure of mind. This requires that we individuate from the socialized norms and become more of our authentic self amid current realities.
Creative structure of mind is challenging because it is formed from the inside-out. We have to discern what we stand for and internally construct a sense of self independent of outside validation.
Am I making that clear? Perhaps you can recall your own process during your 20s and 30s. We continue to mature over time, weighing how to fit in and when to risk going beyond what is expected.
To operate with a creative mind we focus on a vision for a desired future that matters. We live “on purpose.” Because of this, the adult becomes free to lead in ways that create a more agile, innovative, empowered and high-performing culture.
The leader operating from a Creative structure of mind is challenged to bring the best of the status quo forward to a new reality, and this entails risk and change. The Creative leader learns to manage the tension and create the desired change.
Creative mind is an outcome-focused internal operating system. When leaders adopt this structure of mind, we see outcomes that are positively correlated with effective leadership results.
Leadership strengths that are run in a reactive structure of mind are negatively correlated with leadership effectiveness.
Getting more familiar with your leadership strengths and your structure of mind will pay huge dividends in your leadership effectiveness.