Growth mindset – a term coined by researcher Carol Dweck – theorizes that a person’s potential is unfixed and that anyone can improve their performance simply by applying passion, training, and deliberate effort to their endeavors.
According to Dweck, a person possessing a growth mindset is someone who embraces challenges and views their failures as opportunities to learn and develop. Advanced neuroscience reinforces her assertion as it has proven our brains literally change and become more capable when we work hard to improve ourselves.
If you’re a business leader, fostering a growth mindset among your employees is a surefire way to keep them motivated and continually looking for ways to get better. As you do this, it’s important to remember to avoid the “fixed mindset” pitfalls of getting stuck on results instead of focusing on the learning process and the journey.
Flexibility is key
Business owners and managers with a growth mindset can learn from the information they receive relating to their employees even if it doesn’t line up with their expectations or assumptions. They’re flexible enough to allow their decision to be data-driven and are able to take a wide view of why changes may be happening and how best to address them.
Keeping a growth mindset helps managers challenge their biases and make better decisions based on facts when it comes to employee behaviors and performance.
On the other hand, leaders with a fixed mindset are far less likely to offer accurate, constructive feedback to their employees about their performance. This is especially true when they perceive an employee to be less competent regardless of whether available data supports that perception.
This results in the employee being given ineffective feedback because it is not based on anything factual. A leader with a growth mindset is almost always objective enough to keep their personal feelings about people out of their decision-making.
Be aware of your mindset
Isabel Duarte – a mindfulness and leadership coach – suggests: “Notice and be curious about when you’re approaching a situation with a fixed mindset and consider how you can reframe it.”
She encourages people to think of an instance when they experienced unexpected positive change and question what they think caused the change and how can they repeat that kind of growth.
Similarly, Dweck suggests people ask themselves the following questions:
- Can I be less defensive about my mistakes?
- Could I gain more from the feedback I get?
- How can I create more learning experiences for myself?
Maintain humility as a leader
Great leaders maintain the attitude that everyone deserves respect in addition to opportunities to increase their potential for success. If you’re in charge of a team, stop and think for a moment about the way you conduct yourself in the workplace.
Are you the kind of manager who encounters a challenge with your team and says, “I can’t do this?” Or, are you the kind of leader who says, “I can’t do this yet?” This minor rephrasing of your thoughts can have a huge impact on your approach to challenges and subsequently, a significant effect on the people around you.
Sometimes, making the transition from a good leader to a great leader can be as simple as admitting you need help. If the whole concept of using a growth mindset to boost motivation among your employees is something you can’t quite get your head around, you may want to consider hiring a motivational speaker or coach to get things started on the right track.
That said, whether you bring in an outside expert or not, it’s important to see growth mindset skills as learnable so you can create a culture where failure is genuinely considered a learning experience. Ultimately, your goal is to find ways to motivate your team so making them comfortable with learning from their failures will be critical.
It is also important you provide your team with opportunities to learn from their mistakes and ask questions in judgment-free settings such as online training or virtual motivational coaching sessions.
Empower your employees
A great way to get the ball rolling is to assign your employees tasks that empower them to learn and further their skills. Ideally, these new responsibilities will offer the added benefit of providing professional development at the same time as they improve your bottom line.
Make sure the lines of communication and feedback remain open in both directions. If you have a fixed mindset employee who is struggling with the attitude adjustment, be patient. Contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn new tricks given a little extra time and support.
Worth the effort
Putting the time and effort into developing a growth mindset will help you and your team become more motivated at work and in life.
Perhaps finding the right motivational speaker will be the key that unlocks all this potential? Perhaps you just need to be able to take a good, hard look inwards and ask yourself how you can make growth a priority every day?
Either way, the benefits of having a growth mindset and becoming more motivated are immeasurable. Your bottom line will thank you.