When it comes to your boss’ requests, adopting the mentality of a true leader will help you handle whatever is thrown your way and thrive at work. Because no matter what kind of boss you have, you can’t be caught off guard if you’re armed with the right mindset.
“Mindset is important because it frames your perception with respect to your role and function within an organization. How you think will ultimately determine your success both organizationally and personally,” says Todd Lamb, CEO of PureLife Organics and veteran and former law enforcement SWAT officer.
“My mindset in SWAT was servant leadership and it has followed in my business transition as well. It’s a mindset model that resonates with me from a value base, that my job as a leader is to develop leaders.”
And whether you’re currently in a leadership role or not, the key is to show up as a leader, ready to support others — including your boss.
“As a leader in an organization and on a team, if you aren’t helping those around you to grow, then you’re doing a disservice to them and to your organization. This mindset will help any professional step up into a leader mentality,” says Lamb.
Sounds easier said than done when you’re tasked with a last-minute report and your to-do list already feels overwhelming? It’s exactly why you want to focus on what you can control: Your perspective. The five mindset shifts below will help you handle anything your boss throws at you (and might even make you feel motivated to go above and beyond or score you a promotion.)
1. Ditch the need to be noticed
Imagine this: Your boss has set a target for your team and you play a pivotal role in reaching the goal, but your contribution goes completely unacknowledged, or, even worse, someone else takes credit for the win.
While it might be tempting to say something, you’ll actually be better off ditching the need to be noticed and focusing on elevating your personal power in general, which will improve your interactions with your boss in the long run. Saying something could reflect poorly on you and backfire, even though you handled the initial request greatly.
“When you observe someone attempting to take credit for a task, let them have it. It elevates your personal power and those around you will take note that you did not attempt to correct or belittle a colleague,” says Lamb.
2. Only compete with yourself
On that note, if you want to be able to navigate any challenge and opportunity your boss throws at you, it’s important to avoid comparing yourself to others, according to Lamb:
“High performers tend to only compare themselves to their past self, not to others, and this is extremely effective in creating a winning attitude. You’re focused on how you can do better, how you can help the team more, how you can step up into leadership,” he says.
“This mindset makes you invaluable to a company and to your boss when they know that you’ll be the one to step up and get things done. I often remind myself and others that the only competition in life is with yourself.”
3. Continuously look to add value
“Too frequently people only do what is minimally required, yet the true path to success is ongoing contribution from the smallest, most insignificant tasks to larger group efforts. When someone is consistently performing and assisting others to rise, they will be noticed and considered for leadership opportunities,” says Lamb.
This mindset is about adding value way before your boss even asks anything of you. And by the time she does, you’ll probably be ready to go a step beyond the scope of the request and find even more valuable ways to contribute.
4. Handle every task with pride
Some tasks are objectively more fun and important than others. But adopting the mindset of handling every single task with pride and care will go a long way in terms of having an amazing relationship with your boss and thriving in your role.
“Regardless of how menial or massive a task may seem, always approach it with pride. Every workplace seeks to produce products and services they can be proud of, and it begins with our approach to any aspect of the work we do,” according to Lamb.
5. Don’t think selfishly
Yes, some mindset shifts will absolutely help you work with your boss in an empowering and constructive way. But there is also such a thing as a detrimental mindset, and it comes down to focusing solely on what’s in it for you while forgetting the bigger picture, says Lamb:
“Those who give and work unselfishly are rewarded. I believe it’s important to consider how the request plays into the rest of the company’s or team’s goals.”
“Detrimental mindsets tend to come along when someone doesn’t see the bigger picture and how they are building towards a goal. It’s important to know that you may not see the whole picture, but you are still an important piece of the puzzle.”