Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Teams for Better Work

What is growth mindset?

Mindset in this context is how we think about ourselves. How we think about our strengths and weaknesses, our abilities and skills. A person with a growth mindset understands that talent can be developed, intelligence gained. They believe that leaders are not born, rather they emerge. They believe that failure is an opportunity to grow. They believe they can LEARN to do anything they want. Conversely, those with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are unchanging. Fixed mindset thinkers see failure as the limit of their abilities and take feedback and criticism personally. They are more likely to give up when they are frustrated.

Why is growth mindset important in the workplace?
Growth mindset can unleash your power, productivity and progression at work. A growth mindset acts as a kind of shock absorber. People and teams with a growth mindset understand failures are merely road bumps on the learning journey. They use failure as a learning tool rather than as a measure of their worth or ability. Consequently, they are resilient. When things go wrong, they recover quickly and work on improving their ability and equipping themselves with skills to overcome the problem. In the workplace, growth mindset individuals and teams are relentless pursuers of goals. They are more productive, they are likelier to say their colleagues are trustworthy, to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company and to say that the company fosters innovation. These factors are key in retaining employees and making your company competitive.

Fixed mindset thinkers present more of a problem. When encountering a problem or difficult task at work, rather than a speed bump, they see an impassable road block. Failing to realise they can learn new skills to overcome the problem, they are more likely to abandon pursuing the goal altogether. This clearly has implications for productivity, cooperation, employee satisfaction and ultimately organisational effectiveness.

The Good News: Change is Possible
Individuals and organisations ARE capable of transformation. It is a fact that through practice, patience and perseverance we are able to learn new skills and different ways of working. The following are simple things you can do to foster the development of a growth mindset in your team:

  1. Value continual learning
    Be willing to learn yourself. Actively seek new solutions to old problems. Lead by example and encourage others around you to do the same.
  2. Develop as many people as you can
    Don’t make the mistake of investing time and money in developing just a few rising stars. Work to develop your whole team. This develops a deep and diverse pool of talent across the organisation. You’ll be surprised by outstanding performance and development from unexpected people.
  3. Admit failure and learn from it
    Recognise that failure is simply part of the journey to success. Don’t sweep failure under the rug. Invite it. Spend time debriefing with your team on what went poorly. Invite ideas about how you can do better next time and encourage people to reflect on what they learned about themselves and how they might apply this learning to the next project/objective.
  4. Be open to feedback
    A leader who is closed to feedback stops growth and innovation in its tracks. When you’re open to feedback, people feel more comfortable being truthful about what is going well and what isn’t. Then you can use this information to acknowledge success and workshop problems. If your employees aren’t comfortable telling you when they are having a problem, how can you ever solve it? Psychological safety is an important related concept, which establishes the need to create an environment where failure is embraced and where people feel ‘safe’ to explore and share ideas. You can learn more about psychological safety and how to achieve it in our blog here.

Developing a growth mindset is a process which requires effort and patience, but the rewards are substantial and invaluable. TMS consulting can help you and your team on the journey to achieving a growth mindset. We are the people and culture specialists. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help your team perform better.

About the author

Lydia Moreland