Leadership at Every Level: What it is and why you should be interested

Leadership can be a difficult notion to define. Some consider leadership a role, of making demands and telling people what to do. Others see leadership as a quality, approach or set of behaviours, and others may define leadership as something different altogether.

At Tribus People, in addition to being a defined role, we also see leadership as a set of behaviours underpinned by the right leadership mindsets, that anyone can display, regardless of seniority or position. Positive behaviours associated with displaying leadership often include honesty, open communication, fair feedback, accountability and ownership.

But why should you be interested in fostering leadership behaviours throughout your organisation?

As a business community, we are moving away from the concept of a ‘hero’ leader, a single leader who knows all and makes the decisions, to a model of shared leadership and collaborative decision-making. And for good reason too. Gong (2021) reports organisations that collaborate on decision-making, emphasise knowledge sharing and foster networks of teams, tend to be more innovative and achieve better financial outcomes.

However, this notion of promoting leadership behaviours throughout an organisation is not new. Dee Hock, the CEO of Visa in 1970, championed a decentralised organisational structure that emphasised the idea of moving the power to where the information is. Hock believed that the people who know the most about a certain topic should have the power to make decisions about it. By doing this, decisions can be made quickly and with better information. Notably, Hock’s decentralisation of power promoted leadership behaviours throughout the organisation.

As a business leader, what do you need to be able to do to facilitate leadership at every level? How do you lead, make decisions, and encourage people throughout your organisation to take accountability, ownership, be open and honest?

Henry Mintzberg suggested leaders need to be able to access five different mindsets, and a great leader will be able to move between these dependent on the situation.

These include the:

  • Reflective Mindset (Managing self): Involves understanding ourselves better. If we do not take the time to reflect on our experiences, we will not gain any valuable insights or learn from them, which means we will not be effective in our roles
  • Analytic Mindset (Managing Organisations): It involves a continuous cycle of taking action, reflecting on the results, and adjusting our approach. By doing so, we develop a better understanding of how our actions, thoughts, and outcomes are connected. It’s essential to have a logical and rational approach to making informed decisions.
  • Worldly Mindset (Managing Context): Consider the broader context in which our organisation operates. It means gaining a deep understanding of the reality in which we operate. This mindset encourages us to step out of our offices and engage with different aspects of the business to ensure its success.
  • Collaboration mindset: (Managing relationships and others): The importance of working well with others and building strong relationships. As leaders, we cannot accomplish much without the support and cooperation of our team members. Collaboration involves negotiation and finding ways to create value together. We have a natural inclination to connect with others and work collectively to achieve meaningful goals.
  • Action mindset (Managing Change): Actively making things happen and managing change. We cannot spend all our time thinking about problems without taking concrete steps to solve them. It is important to strike a balance between planning and actually getting things done.

Demonstrating the five mindsets is crucial for leadership because it enables leaders to approach challenges from different angles and adapt their behaviours accordingly.

So how will adopting each of these mindsets allow you, as a leader, to promote leadership behaviours throughout your business?

The Reflective Mindset:

  • Encourages self-awareness and introspection,
  • Promotes humility and a willingness to learn,
  • Sets an example for others to engage in self-reflection and continuous improvement.

The Analytical Mindset:

  • Promotes a logical and structured approach to decision-making,
  • Fosters informed choices,
  • Inspires confidence and trust in their teams.

The Worldly Mindset:

  • Encourages leaders to consider diverse perspectives, cultural differences, and global trends,
  • Promotes inclusivity and empathy,
  • Fosters understanding and collaboration among team members from various backgrounds.

The Collaborative Mindset:

  • Emphasises building relationships, fostering teamwork, and creating a supportive environment,
  • Encourages open communication, active listening, and valuing diverse contributions,
  • Promotes a sense of belonging and encourages collaboration throughout the organisation.

The Action Mindset:

  • Drives leaders to take bold initiatives, embrace change, and lead by example,
  • Encourages a bias towards action,
  • Empowers employees to take calculated risks, experiment, and drive innovation.

As well as focusing on leadership behaviours, acknowledging and cultivating leadership mindsets can have a profoundly positive impact on your people and business. This combination enables leaders and their teams to approach situations with different perspectives, adapt their behaviours accordingly, and inspire others to do the same.


Gong, L., Liu, Z., Rong, Y. and Fu, L., 2021. Inclusive leadership, ambidextrous innovation and organizational performance: the moderating role of environment uncertainty. Leadership & Organization Development Journal42(5), pp.783-801.

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