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Leadership Starts with Your Beliefs

In recent years, Covid and other social and economic shifts have brought us into what I call a New Reality in the workplace. People’s expectations have changed. Employees are more in charge and more likely to dictate the terms of their work. Wise leaders will see them, and lead them, as individual human beings, not cogs in a machine. And the results will be well worth the effort. Leaders are wise to go beyond performance figures and look deeply into both themselves and their people. If done seriously, that goes all the way down to beliefs. Beliefs? That’s for religion or imagination. But it’s also for leadership. And without it, leadership—your leadership—will suffer. Not might suffer. Will suffer.

What Do You Believe about You?

In one way or another, everything we think and do in all areas of life to some degree starts with our beliefs. They’re like the roots beneath the plant, the foundation under the building, the training behind the performance. In one way or another, we act out of our beliefs.

Everything that’s happened to us throughout our lives has trained us to believe certain things about ourselves, which make all the difference in how we currently think and act. And our genes and DNA cover everything physical, so we may think it’s all a done deal, make the best of it.

Except that’s not true.

Scientists have proven that external factors can influence our genes and DNA. Bruce Lipton and Dawson Church have each shown us that what we think about, whom we surround ourselves with, and the environment and energy we are exposed to can alter and change our DNA!

We make the choice of what we believe about ourselves, whether it be positive or negative. And our beliefs steer our results.

Of course, we can’t morph into a dog or a superhero, but what we choose to believe and think can and will improve our physical health, even prolong our life. It will improve relationships with marriage, family, friends, even God. And it will improve how we approach and perform our work, especially when other people are involved.

Most of us have within ourselves ability and power we have never recognized. But it’s there, waiting to be acknowledged and unleashed. Some people do recognize their ability and achieve great success in their field. Yet they still feel somehow unworthy or fake because of the things they’ve allowed themselves to believe about themselves.

And when we choose to believe differently and positively, it’s often in conflict with our subconscious beliefs and assumptions. That doesn’t turn out well, so what to do?

If you’re willing to be uncomfortable, and if you’re attentive and diligent, you can speak new beliefs—the truth—to your old, false assumptions, and your subconscious mind will gradually align with the new truths you embrace and consistently tell yourself.

Think about this: Who you are determines how you lead. And if you don’t believe in yourself as a leader, then why would anyone else believe in you?

The fact that you’re reading this article already suggests that you have the purpose and desire it takes to change and grow in your beliefs about yourself. This in turn creates in you new ways of thinking and behaving that result in the positive changes and outcomes we all long for.

You may feel self-conscious telling yourself new beliefs about you—and doing it out loud, even in the mirror. But this repeated new data flow is precisely how the neural networks of the brain realign into new ways of believing and thinking. And this is how people create whole new realities in their lives.

In the immortal words of Earl Nightingale, the iconic pioneer of motivational training, “We become what we think about.” No magic pills here, except for time, effort, and consistency. And they always work for those who apply them.

Deep down, honestly, and truly, what do you believe about you? What will you do about it?

What Do You Believe about Others?

As we develop new realities in our own lives, the other part to consider is the people around us. What do you believe about other people? Just as with yourself, what you believe about others largely determines how you treat them. And if you’re leading a company or the department of one, you’ll have beliefs about their performance.

Psychologists have done many experiments that demonstrated a startling correlation between a teacher’s expectations of students and those students’ academic performances. Leadership researchers and authors have equally demonstrated that a boss’s expectations of employees are a huge determining factor in the performances of those employees.

If you are a leader of any kind and you want your organization to be and perform its best, you must—must!—honestly assess and probably change your views of various people within your organization. If you choose to believe they have potential, and you support them in that, they have a good chance of transformation. Without this belief and change of attitude, any efforts you make at organizational change will likely be sabotaged from the start.

To be effective, we must go beyond occasional efforts and adopt a whole mindset of seeking growth, while avoiding any mindset that is fixed and resistant to change. It will always be uncomfortable because change is rarely comfortable. But it’s always worth it.

You may ask yourself, “Can I really do this?”

The automobile pioneer Henry Ford would answer, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” You may learn more about everything covered in this article in UnCommon Leadership® for the New Reality.

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