The Leadership Skill of Abundance

The Leadership Skill of Abundance

Believing There’s More Than Enough

Have you ever played Solitaire?

It’s a card game most people can find on their computer, and as the name implies, it’s meant to be played alone.

Thankfully for my family – there’s a way to play with another person, or even a group. Sometimes all five of us play at once. All you need is one deck of cards per person and some room to spread out.

I noticed something last time we were playing, as we coached our children though different strategies of the game. What we were telling them sounded a lot like what I’ve learned about building an abundance mindset.  

If you’re not familiar with the idea, an abundance mindset can be described as the belief that there’s more than enough to go around. Thinking this way changes how people approach everything they do, from playing cards to leading a team of people. Here’s what I noticed:

In the beginning of the game there’s a flurry of activity… but then… we hit a sticking point. As the game slows to a halt, everyone begins to look over the sea of cards because we all know that someone has a move; they just don’t see it. It doesn’t take long before someone is calling out a new option: “Play your jack!” “Put up your 8!” There is always something you haven’t seen – keep looking!

That kind of curiosity underscores what it means to have an abundance mindset. When you believe there’s more it makes you curious and you begin to search. In business, leaders with an abundance mindset become curious when faced with a problem. They ask questions and listen carefully to the answers, because they believe there’s a move they just haven’t seen yet. Curiosity is an asset (more on that here), but an abundance mindset is more than curiosity.

As the game goes on, we encourage our kids to avoid focusing all their attention on their own hand. That’s important because you need to learn to play off the cards of other players. Even more important is not getting frustrated when someone else is on a roll; instead, recognize that opens opportunities for you – if you’re paying attention.

In a similar way, those who lead with an abundance mindset aren’t threatened by the talents or ideas of others because they believe there is more than enough to go around. More than enough opportunity, more than enough work, and more than enough success for everyone. It gives them confidence when others are thriving because it creates opportunities for all involved.

Our family card game inevitably comes to an end but work and life go on and on.  Why should you build an abundance mindset to carry you forward?

Three Actions to Build an Abundance Mindset

Developing an abundance mindset helps you reframe challenges and can lead you to better outcomes. It can also strengthen your relationships and overcome intrinsic barriers you might be placing in your own path, such as fear or frustration. Each of the ideas below will help you expand your thinking, promote curiosity and develop the leadership skill of an abundant mindset. Pick one to try this week.


Build your daily work and your personal goals around questions because it keeps you open to different answers. Instead of having “Hire a replacement for Steve” on your to-do list, reframe the need around a question such as “What’s the most effective way for us to accomplish all of Steve’s work?” Maybe hiring a replacement is the right move. Maybe this is an opportunity for someone on your team to grow. A leader should share these questions with everyone on their team and encourage others to do the same.

Embrace Conflict

Actively seek perspectives and ideas that differ from your own because this pushes to you consider alternatives. Hear the other sides of an issue. Talk with people who see the issue differently. Avoid making assumptions or believing that you already know what’s best. A leader should encourage and embrace this kind of productive conflict and model it for their team members.

Learn Their Strengths

Learn more about the people you work with because you need their strengths and instincts to thrive. There are many ways to do this, and certain tools can accelerate the process. A tool we recommend is the Kolbe A™ Index. Kolbe measures something no other tool does; a person’s instincts for taking action. This natural conative drive is something separate from intelligence or personality, and it can only be found through Kolbe.

Beyond Abundance

“Undiscovered Abundance” is one of seven beliefs that make up the Contentment Ethic; a practice for people leaders to gain calm confidence in any circumstance. Enter your e-mail below to download and take The Contentment Ethic Survey and learn more about this critical leadership practice.