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A leader is someone that people look up to. Equally, a leader can’t be a leader without followers. In a simple sense, an effective leader needs to convince people to follow or support their ideas. However, effective leadership isn’t this simple. 


The truth is that there is not a consensus on what a “good” or “effective” leader looks like. This makes it difficult to provide a cut and dry answer to the posed question. However, Virginia Commonwealth University has presented research that delves into the mindsets that contribute to how different types of leaders make decisions. 


In order to understand the research, it is important to note that the researchers explain a mindset as the driving force behind what leaders do and the reason that they do it. By compiling decades of research, four mindsets were identified. 


Growth vs. Fixed

The desired mindset for effective leaders is a growth mindset. The effective leader will always be thinking of ways to grow themselves, their followers, and the cause they are working towards. A fixed mindset is limiting and doesn’t allow room for growth. 


Learning vs. Performance

The desired mindset in this set is learning. While performance is important for quick results, the learning mindset will pay off in the long run. An effective leader with a learning mindset is not going to be preoccupied with seeing instant results. They will make it clear that they are invested in the process rather than the end result. A leader with a learning mindset will be effective because they will constantly be evolving and encourage further learning within their team and company. 


Deliberative vs. Implemental

The deliberative mindset allows an effective leader to take in all operatives before making a decision. The leader with an implemental mindset may be ready to make a decision before considering opposing viewpoints. Once again, the implemental mindset may result in quicker decisions, but they won’t pay off in the long run. 


Promotion vs. Prevention 

The promotion mindset is ready to win. The prevention mindset is preoccupied with not losing. The effective leader utilizes a promotion mindset because they have an eye on the prize and will not settle for less.