Manage your Thoughts for Maximum Leadership Effectiveness (Self-Awareness)

How to manage your thoughts.


Your leadership effectiveness will greatly be determined by how well you lead yourself. A major aspect to leading yourself well is the ability to manage your thoughts. James Allen said, “Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit.” When you manage and maintain good thoughts, it will position you for maximum leadership effectiveness. Below are 5 ways to manage your thoughts so they are good and positive:

  1. Consume the good content

External factors can cause us to be around or hear the bad or negative aspects of life. The 3 primary factors include: our environment, the content we consume, and the people we are around. We are able to control some of these factors while others are out of our control. If we have an overload of the bad or negative factors, it will move us toward being an ineffective leader.

This is why we need to guard against the bad or negative factors (those in our control) and to be intentional about consuming good content on a regular basis. It will offset the negative with the good and positive. Below are practical ways to consume good content and gain positive thoughts:

  • Find and memorize quotes with positive messages.
  • Read inspiring and motivating content.
  • Spend time with and be around those who are positive about life.
  • Give yourself a positive self-talk where you (either out loud or to yourself) state the good things about you and your life.
  • Attend conferences or events with positive and wise speakers.
  • Take time to think and dwell on the good and positive aspects of your life.
  1. Manage inward dialog

Author Sidney Madwed insightfully said,

“Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives.”

Leaders have to be careful about our inward dialog and thinking because our regular self-talk and thoughts will show through in our attitude, actions, and behavior. We can become effective leaders if we control our inward dialog. There are two steps in doing this.

The first step is to recognize and acknowledge your regular inward dialog. Take regular time throughout your day to monitor what you are speaking to yourself and thinking on. If it’s something negative or bad, make sure to eliminate it and then start thinking on or about the positive.

The second step is to be proactive about speaking the positive and good into your life; the list in the above point can be used to help your inward dialog be positive. You can remain an effective leader by managing your inward dialog toward the good and positive.

  1. Start to imagine

Effective leaders have a big imagination. They think big and develop an imagination of a bigger and better future. George Bernard said,

“You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”

Achieving anything significant and worthwhile begins with your thoughts. You should spend regular time thinking about and dwelling on the things you want to do and achieve. Take the time to imagine yourself moving toward your life-purpose, potential, goals, and dreams. These things can create energy, motivation, and excitement. It can spark a desire for you to take action on them. Imagination alone can never give you the results you want, but if you turn it into action, you will become an unstoppable leader.

  1. Be wise with your associations

Effective leaders are wise about who they associate with on a regular basis. The people you come in contact with on a regular basis can influence and impact your thinking and thoughts. This is why you need to make sure you are wise about those you spend the majority of your time with or around.

The fact is if you lead in a medium or large organization you will come across all different types of people who have a variety of personalities, attitudes, behaviors, and background. You will have people you will inevitably come in contact with and/or need to lead that are negative. Effective leaders spend as little amount of time as possible with those types of people. Leaders should still care about and support everyone around them, but that does not mean you have to spend a lot of time with them. The people you spend time with most of the time should:

  • Have your best interest in mind.
  • Believe 100 percent in you and your leadership.
  • Have a desire to help and add value to you and the team.
  • Regularly possess a positive attitude about life.
  • Have a positive perspective and outlook about life.

When you associate with these types of people, it will positively impact your thoughts and leadership. Be intentional about spending time with these types of people while placing boundaries with those who might negatively impact your thoughts.

  1. Develop a grateful and thankful attitude

Being grateful and thankful about your life will generate good and positive thoughts. Leaders should reflect on and become content about their life. Almost every leader strives for increased success and achievement. This can produce even more monetary rewards. While it’s ok to push ourselves toward new levels of success and fame, we should be grateful and thankful for what we have.

Don’t forsake a grateful and thankful attitude in pursuit for more power or financial gain. Be grateful and thankful for whatever you have and wherever you are at in your life, no matter how “small” or insignificant you might think it is. Take time to verbally speak your gratitude and share with loved ones how thankful you are of them. Melody Beattie said,

“Gratitude (and thankfulness) unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

Start to develop a grateful and thankful attitude to better mange your thoughts because it will allow for maximum leadership effectiveness.

Dan is an author and award-winning leadership blogger. His passion is to help people increase their influence and reach their full potential. He writes on the topic of leadership at If you subscribe to his blog he will give you two free quote books.