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Controlling leaders not only have a significantly negative impact on information-sharing and collaboration, they do not provide very clear direction either. This is one of the myths of “tough” leadership, that it creates urgency, accountability and direction. I have no support for this claim after 4 years of studying leaders from across the world in our #safe2great study. What a do see, is that leadership with a #growthmindset builds #commitment. People are more motivated, their teams are more focused and decisive. There is more trust and inclusion and real performance focus. Leaders with a growth mindset are also much better at creating #pscychologicalsafety in their teams. A proven driver of high performance in other research.
Two interesting facts. Leaders with a controlling mindset are considered ready for promotion and are high on self-confidence than the average. Leaders with a growth mindset are much higher on the “ready for promotion” scale, but they are the same on self-confidence. This points to a fact that highly effective team leaders often posses a healthy level of self-criticism and doubt. This is part of what makes them good at at leading. When you you have productive self-doubt, you are more likely to work harder at improving your work and relationships. When self-criticism drives a desire to learn and improve; you have a growth mindset.
Controlling leaders can suffer from narcissism. This explains their low receptiveness to feedback and low willingness to develop personally. They are also more likely to run their team as a group of individuals. Controlling leaders have a strong tendency to create excluding teams with special rules for high status team members, i.e., you can get away with more mistakes and rule-breaking in teams run by controlling leaders. Punishment and toxic behaviour are more common and used to maintain existing social structure and discipline. So you may observe higher levels of internal coherence in a team run by a controlling leaders, but that it not due to common goals, but rather a repression of debate and disagreement.
All this and more will soon be available in the Safe2Great book set for publishing in the US in 2023.
Author of Safe2Great, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset