Our mindsets, the indicator of our belief and attitude towards our own abilities, are the key factor that affects how we behave and influence those around us. Researchers have concluded that one’s mindset can have great impacts on their future successes and that one’s belief can either makes them or breaks them.Carol Dweck, the author of the famous book “Mindset”, has introduced the world with two new terms after years of studying about human mindset: Fixed mindset and growth mindset. From the research, she found the Growth mindset in a professional environment is invaluable in enhancing employee engagement, innovation as well as establishing a learning culture in the office. Employees who work in companies that promote growth mindset are more collaborative, committed and are not afraid to try new things. Meanwhile, for companies that are more on the fixed mindset side, things are more clustered, people are more careful in their job, thus, collectively, they are moving forward more slowly.
The benefits of a growth mindset for organisations
If you successfully gather a team with growth-oriented individuals, the team performance is more likely to improve significantly as each member is constantly striving to learn and take new risks. Mindsets influence the way we perceive goals and deal with effort and struggle, hence, a team with growth mindsets can effectively stimulate development and innovation – not only for the organisation but also for each other.
As for those with the fixed mindsets, their reluctance to change and development will hinder the innovation advancement of the organisation. It’s because those with fixed mindsets would be constantly looking for opportunities to prove their talents, they view experimenting new tasks as a chance to fail and risk their performance at work. On the other hand, individuals with growth mindsets always welcome challenges as well as setbacks, through which, they can see where things went wrong and how to deal with failures and convert them into successes.
Managers with a growth mindset benefit their team substantially. Why? A growth-oriented manager will be more open to feedback and ideas from his employees without interpreting it as suspicion towards their capabilities and leadership ability. Moreover, in terms of coaching and mentoring, managers with growth mindsets are better at approaching and guiding people in comparison with fixed ones. Simply because once the manager believes that one’s ability can be cultivated and developed, he/she will invest more into coaching and training their employees to become better, hence, nurture a growth culture in the organisation.
Managers that possess fixed mindsets tend to believe in the first impressions they had of the employees. This means that if the manager regards an employee as a “high performer”, he will remain his opinions even when the employee shows degradation in their performance. Conversely, a growth-oriented leader will be more attentive to the changes in their employees, meaning both negative and positive changes are well-noted regardless of their previous performance.
Organisations that promote growth culture is more open to diversity in the workplace and is less influenced by stereotype threat. Leaders with growth mindsets don’t believe in “fixed traits”, thus, they welcome different types of individual, as long as they are perpetually improving and adding value to the organisation. Moreover, when employees get to work in a growth-attuned environment, they feel encouraged to collaborate with one another more.
Such positivity in collaboration and perception makes people feel safe from stereotype threat and comfortable to step out of their comfort zones. Stereotype threat arises in companies with fixed mindsets, in which the employees have to constantly try to prove their intelligence, capabilities and appear better than others. Since the fixed mindset ones believe that one’s talent is permanent, they easily stereotype a group of people to have low performance regardless of their actual accomplishments. Especially for those belong to the underrepresented groups who endure being stereotyped as low performing because of the impacts of the fixed mindset on one’s abilities.
Cultivating growth mindset at work
Let your employees know that you value their personal growth and that their improvements are highly cherished in the organisation. Studies have found that people tend to learn more effectively when they feel encouraged and motivated and the effort they spent is recognised and praised. In other words, people will continue to grow and stretch their abilities if they feel ignited to become better and explore all the possibilities to become more successful.
For example, studies have found that it is more likely that an organisation attracts growth-oriented candidates if their recruiting post talks about one’s abilities to learn more than their fixed traits. In other words, use phrases like “learn new things” or “highly determined” so that your organisation emerges as growth-oriented and approach candidates who are more growth-oriented. Moreover, when talking about failures, try to emphasise on how to overcome challenges rather than analyse each of your employee’s performances.
Make room for growth
Coaching is one of the most effective methods to develop your talent pool. Coaching is not limited to training sessions only, knowledge can be shared between the high-performers and the rest. Once the success stories are deconstructed, it becomes more compelling for people to try to emulate them.
Letting your employees know that there are always opportunities for them to develop and change, and that their improvements are always recognised. For organisations that have more of a fixed mindset, people are occupied with proving their intelligence and competing with one another, and consequently, hinder development and innovation in the organisation.
Establish a learning culture
It is important to let your employees understand that their current position is not necessarily indicative of where the organisation expect them to be forever. In performance management, avoid comparison between the employees because it is better to identify and provide them with the tools they need for improvements.
From the top down, your management board should be the ideal role models for their employees to look up to. As the leaders of the business, they should feel comfortable sharing their stories of failures and overcoming them, because, inspiration does not come from success stories but from the journey that led to success.