How to Overcome the Mental Blocks of Leadership

June 21, 2022

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Overview: Leadership is a high effort undertaking that requires the full commitment of a leader. It is also a never-ending enterprise that can exhaust leaders and trap them behind invisible barricades. Doubting oneself, growing reluctant to make decisions, and seeing success as a zero-sum game are mental blocks that can hurt leaders. 

Leadership is a continuous, proactive effort requiring your full attention and participation. Effective leaders cannot afford to slow down or create comfort zones they refuse to leave. Those who are reluctant to keep going, improve, or embrace change experience barricades of leadership.

Barricades of leadership are self-imposed mental blocks that prevent you from being the best leader possible. 

A mental block is a phenomenon that prevents one from accessing natural creative motivations and talents. Those experiencing mental blocks feel drained of energy. The tasks ahead of them feel like impossible challenges. Such mental blocks can occur at the leadership level, leaving executives feeling stuck or unable to live up to their potential. 

The purpose of leadership coaching is to help leaders defeat the barricades of leadership. 

What are the most common mental blocks that can land leaders on the wrong side? 


Self-doubt is a perverted psychological phenomenon that can befall any person. The context of leadership amplifies its negative effects. When you doubt your abilities and the value of your work, you are in a bad place psychologically. 

Self-doubt can assault your confidence and motivation from several angles and sources. 

  • It can rear its head as a specific fear. The thought of turning in low-quality work may haunt you, taking the enjoyment out of what you do and turning it into a tedious chore that only rewards you with anxiety. 
  • General anxiety is often inexplicable. It exists independently of specific fears as the result of prolonged psychological trauma. Often, this trauma is self-inflicted. 
  • Imposter syndrome is one of the most frequent barricades of leadership. Those suffering from this syndrome feel unqualified and constantly at risk of being exposed as frauds. 

Self-doubt is seldom logical. It is a self-sabotaging trick our mind plays on us unless we are self-aware enough to redirect our thoughts and defuse its shallow arguments. 

A Self-Limiting Mindset

People with self-limiting mindsets consciously or subconsciously believe their capabilities have certain limits. Leaders who fall into this trap believe their past achievements define them and their leadership abilities. 

This keeps leaders locked in their comfort zones. Since they can’t overcome their limits, they see no point in attempting to learn, grow, or scale their leadership efforts. 

The Mindset of Success Scarcity

Those who believe success is a scarce commodity in the world and who believe they’ve been robbed of opportunities live in constant states of turmoil and strife. 

Whether you are a leader or an employee, there will always be others slightly more skilled, motivated, or successful. Some may have started earlier; others were lucky and caught breaks you may have missed. 

Having a mindset of success scarcity is like constantly rebelling against life itself. This attitude leads you to disregard your achievements and dismiss your capabilities. 


Sometimes, leaders lose sight of their priorities and are unable to determine what’s important. Faced with this predicament, many react by attributing undue importance to every decision they make.

Deep thinking.
High-stakes decisions can be paralyzing. 

When you feel you have to make the best decision of your life every time, you will overanalyze. Some leaders may even lose their ability to make relevant or timely decisions. 

Unbridled Enthusiasm

We tend to associate enthusiasm with positive outcomes and experiences. In the context of leadership, this can degenerate into a mental block. 

Leaders who are overly enthusiastic about their interests tend to overestimate their resources and spread them thin. The result is a lot of frenzied movement and no meaningful progress. 

Executive coaching helps leaders identify their mental blocks and devise ways to defeat and eliminate them. The first step is to uncover the problem. Leaders then work to remove, reduce, or transform their barricades of leadership and break through their previously invisible glass ceilings. 

Leadership coaching turns leaders into better versions of themselves, helping them see problems they would not see by themselves. By offering an alternative perspective and potential solutions to problems, leadership coaches can clear obstacles for leaders. 

To learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach, or how you can benefit from bringing IL Solutions to your organization, contact us today

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