Leaders build organisations by building a Founder's mindset.
Leaders build organisations by building a Founder's mindset.
Leaders assume responsibility for everything

They believe they control how things happen or don’t, and proactively make a choice to focus on them or not. Leaders look into the mirror and take ownership for failures while looking out of the window giving their teams credit for their successes

Leaders are great communicators

They just don’t think they are right, they can also verbalise and make other people see the world through their eyes. This doesn’t mean that they are only sellers, they also believe and repeatedly prove what they are saying is true. A good leader conveys expectations, feedback, challenges and context etc. in a simple, honest and timely manner, while maintaining an open channel for the same things to flow upwards from the people they lead

Leaders listen

The truth is, someone in a position of leadership will likely have more knowledge and or experience in a given situation, but if someone has a perspective to share, it's important for a leader to demonstrate a willingness to listen and accept that there may be more realities than just the one they know. They can totally choose not to follow said perspective, but listening builds trust and respect

Leaders believe they can change anything

This is not foolish optimism, but rather a belief that they can make a positive impact by leveraging the knowledge of others or learning on their own. Leaders deeply understand that the ability to help people do better is a powerful weapon for change

Leaders believe that change starts with them

The ability to start with an idea and take it to a point where it can be a reality, starts with a leader's willingness to lead the change. Leaders share their ideas and beliefs openly in order to make them a reality

Leaders provide forward momentum

Things will always have a tendency to slow down or settle into a routine. A leader constantly avoids this sloth and challenges everyone to a higher goal. It means avoiding stasis, in every way possible. Leadership is the ability to constantly drive forward momentum

Leaders are a source of energy

Radiating energy to everyone, through everyone. They push for upsides, as opposed to just protecting the downside. They push people to want to achieve more, not fear more

Leaders make the entire company head in the direction that is the best possible

Given the information they have. In addition to making things happen, they also seek and provide clarity in that direction by engaging in a constant balance between advocacy and inquiry. For a leader, local optima does not matter

Leaders face problems upfront and fast

They know that delays in addressing problems create untrackable debt. They foster a culture that wants to head towards solving the bigger problems first, everyday

Leaders treat tough times as tough problems, nothing more

They have the intellectual honesty to admit their mistakes, and move on with the knowledge of the lessons, without being weighed down by the baggage. They deeply understand that we are better off watching the next move, than dwelling on the reasons for landing in tough times

Leaders make choices that have a bias towards action

Delaying a decision is a decision too. Leaders consciously differentiate between problems that are one-way doors and two-way doors, and solve for speed in decision making, irrespective

Leaders are oriented towards solving problems, not solving for people

Leaders are fearless while challenging assumptions when they disagree, especially because they operate from deep-rooted, mission-oriented convictions. While people are necessary to get the work done, having great people who don’t get outcomes is a counterproductive. Leaders fixate on the outcomes, knowing the right people will align themselves

Leaders raise the bar on each and every hire

They always seek to hire people who will raise the bar for the team on some vector. They are keenly looking to find, hire and train people to be better than themselves, because they understand that the whole is larger than the sum of its parts

Leaders are the custodian of the culture, vision and mission

They believe everything is their problem, so is everything that is done wrong. They understand that when they see something off-culture and ignore it, they set a new culture. They uphold the highest bar on quality of work for themselves and those around them, watching the minutest details, while only having a tolerance for well-intended mistakes

Leaders have a learning mindset

They are open to new ideas and have a reasonable amount of meaningful input for each aspect of the business. They understand that when we try to defend our egos, rather than grow and change, we end up perfectly designed for a world that happened already, instead of growing better able to handle the world that is coming next. With this in mind – they constantly seek feedback and invest in their own and the organisations learning at large

What makes you not a leader?
A belief that you know everything

And are right about anything. Self doubt makes us better and criticism first starts with ourselves before it can go to others

Only managing

Being able to farm out work is not leadership, you are then a servant of the structures you have created

Just expertise

If you focus on becoming great at something, take it for a fact that you will report to someone who is good at multiple things

Hiring people who can take part of your work

It is a surefire sign that you are not leading. Leaders hire people who can replace them completely. A’s hire A’s, B’s hire C’s

Not knowing what is happening on your watch

This puts you in the manager category, not leader. Leaders are answerable for everything and hence need to know everything

Inability to take feedback

There is always something wrong with what you are doing, and being able to step into the details of what it is, is a necessity

Inability to welcome multiple perspectives

Leaders can respect differing points of view. They don’t need to always be right, they just want to get to the right answer

Albinder Dhindsa
Albinder Dhindsa

First edition - April, 2021