Recently a professional colleague told me about a situation where a leader deliberately withheld information about a great professional opportunity from her staff. When confronted by my colleague, the leader admitted that she planned to apply for the opportunity and wanted to avoid additional competition. This story reminded me of a concept that Dr. Stephen Covey used to discuss about a scarcity versus abundance mindset. Most people, he observed, have a scarcity mindset believing that there is only so much in the pie of life —-if someone gets a slice, it means less for someone else. Leaders who do this have a hard time sharing information, prestige, options and opportunities because they believe to do this would decrease their own power. John Maxwell points out that they pay a high price for this behavior. Effective leaders understand that developing a mindset of abundance will eventually lead to much greater career success.
Here are 4 ways to develop a mindset of abundance
1. Recognize that life is not a zero sum game
When you develop a mindset of abundance and generosity, you will quickly see that more opportunity not less comes your way. Giving another an opportunity establishes you as transformational leader and a leader who staff will be loyal to.
2. Look for opportunities to be generous and show appreciation
Use every opportunity to showcase the accomplishment and contributions of others. Your influence and happiness will grow when you do this.
3. Confront the scarcity mindset of others
Mindsets can be contagious so be careful of the company that you keep. When you observe a scarcity mindset – confront it as my colleague did in the situation described above.
4. Reflect frequently on your leadership behavior
Reflect on your own leadership behavior to see if you demonstrate an attitude of gratitude and look for ways to help others. If you see yourself demonstrating a scarcity mindset, ask yourself why you are feeling this way and if you feel threatened.
John Maxwell reminds us that leadership is influence – nothing more and nothing less. We influence those around us by the mindsets that we adopt. Your mindset can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability – the choice is yours.