Leadership is a Mental Game

Leadership is a mental game; transform the way you play.


For the mind of the executive juggling information overload, competing priorities, and decision fatigue.

Build Better Teams is a rallying cry that can be read in every leadership book on the shelf, heard at every executive retreat, and top dog on every CEO’s perennial to-do list. We are told that it is up to us to make mountains out of molehills and high-performers out of new recruits. 

And yet, the way we have been taught to actually build these teams is completely irrelevant. We are taught to lead with authority and forge a team out of sheer tenacity. The message we’ve been fed forever is loud and clear: the way to thrive in the business arena is top-down leadership, damn the consequences, like bad behavior, burnout, and abusive ambition.  

Ummm, no thanks.

I have an unpopular opinion: the way we “do” leadership is broken. How we’ve always led no longer works. The consequences far outweigh the upside of an authoritarian style and frankly, it just does not work. Not today, anyway. 

In the old days—and by that I mean the 1960s, 70s, and 80s—the boss was the only one who had all of the information. Fear-based leadership was the name of the game; as long as people were afraid to ask questions, give pushback, or have a life outside the office, compliance was won and work got done. 

And then along came the internet and technology evolving at breakneck speed. Add in economic and social crisis after crisis, a volatile political arena, and rapid cultural change, and it’s a whole new rodeo. Decision-making that used to last two years now has a shelf life of six weeks or less, strategic planning is a short game, and change management has become the thing that will either make or break an organization.

This ain’t your grandpa’s C-Suite experience, or your dad’s, or even your aunt’s. Heck, it’s not even your college roommate’s game. Every day, the playing field in the global business arena is a fresh landscape. The rulebook is irrelevant.

I couldn’t be happier. Why? Because what’s breaking us is also rebuilding us. 

This is our chance to stop looking and sounding like everyone else and break the wheel. We have the opportunity, right now, to use change to our advantage and get unstuck from the same old toxic ways of leading. We can put an end to getting rewarded for bad behavior, aggressive disposition, and fear-based leadership. 

I invite leaders into a life free from the anxiety and chaos that rapid change always brings and to pivot into adept/adaptable dynamic composure with a growth mindset. Because leadership isn’t a battle of attrition to extract as much value as possible at any cost, true leadership is a mental game—let’s transform the way you play.

Rise above a reactive state full of compliance, resource-guarding, and controlling and step into a creative state with clarity, flexibility, and diversity of how we do things ‘round here. Let’s embrace self-authoring as the ultimate authority. 




The world is happening to me The world is gonna world, but I decide how I react
Unfaltering compliance demand I may be the boss, but I don’t know everything
Protective of myself and my ideas Let’s just make more pie
Controlling and micromanaging Open and innovative, standing aside so others can thrive


GET PRACTICAL How do we get there? 
♻️ Evolve. Level up from a reactive state to a self-authoring state of mind.
Everyone benefits when we embrace personal growth and development. Change is uncomfortable—and it is rewarding. Commit to stop living in a reactive state and make a conscious effort to uplevel into a way of being in which you are making decisions every day to edit yourself towards a better, healthier, more freeing leadership style.

🥴 Understand. Get to know your own reactive tendencies inside and out.
Only when we understand our own individual reactions can we change them. This means getting to know yourself, even if you don’t always like what you see. Discover how and why you react to different situations, and how you get rewarded when you do. Then, and only then, can you unlearn bad behaviors.

🫶 Intend. Make a conscious choice to choose self-authoring competency.
Resolve to actively choose to self-author by default. This means making a cognizant decision to lean into that skill set whenever we feel ourselves slipping into that old reactive tendency. When you find yourself creating distance and being critical of others, decide at that moment to show more community concern and build more meaningful and caring connections.

💫 Embrace. Radical self-acceptance? Yes, please.
Reactive states hurt everybody, especially ourselves. For example, when compliance and people-pleasing are the vibe, we are morphing into someone inauthentic just to survive. The more we show up in courageous authenticity, the more interpersonal intelligence we develop. And the more emotional intelligence, the more trust we build with those around us. Know exactly who you are, when to self-author, and thrive.

The future of leadership needs Creative Leadership, an approach that cuts through the noise and normalizes a way of responding differently to change, promoting a world where everyone is growing. 

And the best part? Put curiosity and influence over control and compliance and something magical will happen: You will get that team you’ve been dreaming of. If you have a company culture that celebrates diversity, flexibility, and clarity and the leaders to back it up, you’ll find no more nimble team ready for anything. 

For employers who create an environment where you can be a top performer and still have a life and space to be awesome, consistently build better teams—period—more creative, more innovative, more adaptable. 

So if you want to build a better team, stop being scared of what broke us, and get excited about what we will build. Cultivate a culture where leaders and managers enjoy their job—inspired and learning in a safe space, focused and having a purpose, building a legacy they can be proud of—thriving in virtue cycles and positive feedback loops– because happy, unstressed, and fear-free people look out for each other. That’s how we take the lead on making the world a better place.

Food for Thought 

What are my reactive actions? (e.g., complying, protective, controlling, people-pleasing, The Blame Game)

In what scenarios do these reactions “show up?” (e.g., when I feel stupid, irrelevant, or at risk)

How do I get rewarded for reacting in a toxic manner? (e.g., promotion, productivity, or promises) 


ABOUT 304 COACHING | Thrive in an idea-positive company culture that nurtures the leadership pipeline—because no one ever changed the world with the way things have always been done. Neuroscience-backed progressive leadership training grows teams that can deliver on any business promise, vision, or innovation, no matter how rapidly the world is changing. Learn more at 304coaching.com 

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