What is a Growth Mindset?

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2022

What is a growth mindset?

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, professor, and researcher, created the phrase "growth mindset" in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck, people have a growth mindset when they believe their genetics or talents don't limit them. On the other hand, they have the ability to learn, grow, and improve.

A "fixed mindset," on the other hand, is when a person believes they have a fixed set of features that are unlikely to change. These two attitudes can manifest themselves in the workplace on an individual and organizational level. Dweck has undertaken research after the release of her book, finding that most businesses have a general trend toward either fixed or development mindsets.

What are the benefits of a growth mindset in the workplace?

Distinguishing between a growing and a fixed mindset may appear to be subjective at first. However, Dweck's, her collaborators', and others' research consistently reveal that they impact how people and organizations operate. Here are some of the most important advantages of a growth mindset in the workplace.

Increased Trust

Employees with fixed mindsets are more prone to see their coworkers as competitors in a race for success than partners because they believe their abilities and peers are essentially set. As a result, corporate cultures based on entrenched mindsets reveal a lack of trust and commitment to the organization.

On the other side, a widely shared growth mentality in the workplace has proven to be beneficial to businesses. According to surveys, employees in these companies are 47% more likely to feel their coworkers are trustworthy.

Better Morale

Employees in a growth-oriented organization understand that their performance will be judged on their effort and innovation, not on their natural attributes or willingness to support short-term thinking. Employees with a growth mentality are also more likely to ask questions and contribute their own ideas, which helps the organization avoid groupthink.

It boosts employee morale to know that their thoughts are valued and that they are trusted to grow with the company. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees at organizations with growth mindsets are 34% more likely to feel strongly committed to the organization.

Increased Thinking/Risk Taking

A growth mentality is critical for fostering innovation and a willingness to take risks at the corporate level. Individuals and organizations who believe their talents are fixed are more likely to concentrate on specific, short-term goals (such as quarterly profits) than on longer-term possibilities. As a result, leaders may be hesitant to take chances that jeopardize their short-term goals.

Employees are aware of the distinction, according to HBR. Those who work for companies that encourage risk-taking are 65% more likely to say their company encourages it. They're also 50% more likely to say their company encourages innovation. Employees need confirmation that their business culture supports them to feel comfortable putting forward new ideas, even if they don't work out.

How to Foster a Growth Mindset in the Workplace

It's tempting to assume that organizations can't change how their people see the environment because attitudes are frequently seen as highly personal. Taking deliberate measures to prioritize a growth mentality in the workplace, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on business culture. According to research, individual mindsets are highly responsive to triggers such as their settings and the messages they receive.

Here are five steps to help your company adopt a development attitude.

1. Make performance evaluations about learning rather than output

Employee performance evaluations have traditionally relied on production measurements as units sold or projects finished on time. In many firms, employees are often measured against one another (implicitly, like when employees share numerical goals, or explicitly, as in stacked ranking systems).

Instead, leaders can examine how workers are growing and developing to build an organizational growth mentality. They might think about setting goals that are more focused on improving their skills than increasing their productivity.

2. Recognize both successes and failures as opportunities for learning

While no one enjoys failing, stigmatizing failure or condemning employees when projects fail will undermine their confidence and make them hesitant to share future ideas. Instead, leaders can foster a growth mindset in the workplace by seeing failure as a necessary part of the learning process and treating it as a source of helpful information about what worked (and what didn't).

3. Encourage employees to speak out if they have anything to say

According to companies with a growth attitude, good ideas can originate from unexpected places. Instead of relying on a small group of employees to raise red flags or propose new strategies, leaders with growth mindsets are open to hearing various points of view, even if they contradict their own, and appreciate the importance of asking questions.

4. Support employees' efforts to upskill and reskill

As technology advances, most firms are confronting or anticipating skills gaps. Instead of presuming people are just capable of performing the tasks they've always done, intelligent leaders and businesses with growth mindsets recognize that employees are likely already equipped with the capacity and intelligence to meet the problems they confront.

These companies invest in their employees' reskilling and upskilling through in-house training or external initiatives like Emeritus'. Participation in these programs demonstrates to employees that their company leadership believes in their potential, creating a growth mentality on a personal level.

5. Encourage cross-domain learning and coaching

Organizations with a growth mentality recognize that an employee's full potential may not be noticeable right away. They also understand that spending time and energy on enthusiastic individuals about learning may pay off handsomely.

Employees who show an interest in advancement should be offered one-on-one coaching and cross-domain learning opportunities (such as cooperating with other teams or even a short-term transfer).

Building a growth mindset in a company is a long-term endeavor, but it can yield significant results. However, as Dweck points out, simply discussing a development mindset at work isn't enough to make it a reality. Organizations must instead take explicit initiatives to encourage individuals to develop their abilities, take chances, and challenge themselves, even if it is uncomfortable.

By Justin Quigley
Human Capital Expert


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