Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc.

To get ahead in any business setting, you must think like a leader – even if you are far from that rank today.

In Japan we have the expression, “Salaryman perseverance.” The expression is used to describe people who only think of themselves as employees. They follow their instructions, do only what they’re told and never take initiative. That is not a mindset that will get you ahead at work. To advance, you must throw away “Salaryman perseverance” and take on the mindset of a manager, no matter how far down the corporate hierarchy you may be today.

The mindset shift will transform you. Thinking like a leader changes your perspective. You become able to rise above the minutiae and take a big-picture view of your work and the work of others. You start thinking long-term and build strategies for achieving goals. You see things differently, just as you do when you climb to the top of Mt. Fuji. You’re able to see far into the distance not because you have superior vision, but because you enacted a plan and climbed to the summit.

Why does this help you – and your employer? It is because when you take a big-picture view of your job, you are able to see the balance of profits versus expenditures. You become able to understand how each individual job is interconnected to the organization. You rise above the expectation of your individual job and consider the broader implications of what you do, day in and day out.

This is management. This is something that every leader thinks about. When you take a leader’s mindset, you are managing yourself. You’re identifying problems and developing hypotheses for how to solve them. You may be the one who comes up with an efficiency improvement, a creative solution to a nagging problem or an idea that expands the scope of the business. When you think like a leader, you add to the brainpower at work for the entire organization. This is incredibly useful. Your superiors will surely take notice.

Do you think like a leader? How has this helped your career?