Every leader I know is always on the hunt for opportunities to become better at what they do. Dan Rockwell shares ideas on how to maximize the most neglected growth opportunity in leadership.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell


Pain doesn’t change you; neither does education, adversity, or social interaction. Only one thing changes you.

Attitude – mental disposition – determines the impact of life events.

The most neglected growth opportunity

Reflect on mental habits more than circumstances.

The same events produce different results.

Two people experience the same crisis. One is enriched; the other impoverished. The difference is attitude.

Education makes fools of some and sages of others. The difference is mental disposition.

Mental disposition establishes trajectory.

Stagnant dispositions:

Nasty mental habits produce stinky-pond leaders.

#1. Disrespect.

Disrespect is putting yourself above others. Your insight, for example, is more valuable than anyone else’s.

Disrespect simmers into stagnation because it has a closed mind.

#2. Defensiveness.

Defensiveness says, “It’s not my fault.”

Defensiveness is cousin to blame. Defensiveness says, “There’s nothing wrong with me.” Blame says, “There’s something wrong with you.”

Defensiveness turns the status quo into a grave.

#3. Disapproval.

Fault-finding is part of improvement, but don’t make it an Olympic sport.

Beware of the underhanded faultfinder; the person who tweaks everyone’s work.

Development dispositions:

#1. Generosity.

The dead sea is dead because water flows in but doesn’t flow out. You come to life when you make life richer for others.

The power of wealth is experienced when you give it to someone else. Remember you’re wealthy in many ways, even if you lack material wealth.

Walk into the room thinking, “How might I pour out of my cup?”

#2. Openness:

Learners grow. Knowers die.

When an unexpected person shows up at your door, invite them in. The thing that most expands your leadership is new relationships.

Think of irritating people as teachers that reveal who you are and expose who you might become.

When someone more successful crosses your path, ask, “What’s in their heart?”

Walk into the room thinking, “How might I connect and learn?”

What mental dispositions most hinder leaders?

What mental dispositions propel leaders forward?