Growth Mindset: What It Is and Why It Matters for Your Employees

Teaching a growth mindset gives your workforce the motivation and grit they need to move through hard times.

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Growth Mindset: What It Is and Why It Matters for Your Employees

The term ‘growth mindset’ coined by researcher Carol Dweck refers to the belief that your potential isn’t fixed or limited. Someone with a growth mindset increases their skills and abilities with determination, training, and deliberate effort.

Because they see themselves as capable of tackling new challenges, they see failure as an opportunity to learn. Without it, people believe their abilities and personality traits are set in stone — and take failures to heart.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why having a growth mindset can be essential for your business. Employees who are keen to learn from their mistakes and keep moving forward are better for an organization’s long-term success than those who see obstacles as personal failures or part of their identity. They’re also 34% likelier to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company.

Teaching a growth mindset gives your workforce the motivation and grit they need to move through hard times. It also helps your business find new levels of success. Let’s dive into how adopting and teaching a growth mindset can impact your business!

How a Growth Mindset Affects Your Employees

Each of us has to navigate a network of beliefs, opinions, and situations going back all the way to childhood. How someone was raised, what they believed about themselves growing up, and the kinds of experiences they’ve had at work can all shape their mindset and attitude towards growth. Employees might find it harder to move away from limiting self-beliefs if they have struggled with:

  • Self-image
  • Learning disabilities
  • Relationships with their peers

In contrast, someone without these experiences can find it challenging to understand their colleagues’ emotional outbursts when something blocks their path.

Whatever the case, a person’s mindset isn’t set in stone. Every employee has the power to change. Instilling a growth mindset in your staff can help give them the strength and motivation to move through hard times. It can help your business grow.

As an HR professional, motivating your workforce is essential — and teaching them how to face challenges with determination and grace is good for everyone involved.

What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve

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How to Encourage a Growth Mindset

No one is entirely tuned into growth, especially not all the time. According to Dweck, all of us have some mixture of both growth and fixed mindsets, and that mixture continues to change and evolve as we get older. “A ‘pure’ growth mindset doesn’t exist,” she says. Dweck believes that this is something we need to acknowledge if we want to see long-term benefits.

While there’s no perfect recipe for growth, tipping the scales can help your business run more smoothly and keep employees satisfied. Encouraging a growth mindset can include:

1)   Rewarding learning and progress — Not just outcomes

Individuals who believe they can develop their talents — and have more agency over the course of their lives — worry less about looking smart and put more of their effort into learning and self-improvement. Not surprisingly, they also achieve more than their more fixed-minded peers, both on a personal level and company-wide.

Rewarding effort and tracking progress through coaching, open lines of communication, or by giving your team a chance to debrief after each project leads to innovative organizations with committed, empowered employees. Employees working at a ‘growth ‘mindset’ organization were 65% more likely to say their company supports risk-taking and 47% likelier to see their colleagues as trustworthy.

Conversely, focusing only on outcomes can lead to cheating and deception in order to ‘make it to the top.’

2)   Providing constructive feedback & celebrating wins

For more fixed-minded employees, sometimes any feedback can feel like criticism, which they take personally. Instead, Dweck encourages “praising wisely” — celebrating someone’s hard work and engagement with the task instead of their talent or intelligence.

We know that praise works. 37% of workers say more personal recognition encourages them to produce better work. When we celebrate an employee’s initiative, determination, or grit instead of their talents, they’re more likely to incorporate constructive criticism into their learning process rather than take it as a personal offense.

By celebrating the learning process and incorporating constructive feedback, you create a company culture where it’s okay to admit your mistakes and learn from others creating a more stable, sustainable business overall.

3)   Encouraging & modeling self-reflection

No one is perfect, and this is true for managers, employees, and decision-makers at your organization. Self-reflection is just as important for you as it is for your team, so make sure to ask yourself the kinds of questions you’d like to ask your employees:

  • Are there ways you find yourself being defensive about your mistakes?
  • Do you catch yourself using limiting language (e.g., I’ve never been good at public speaking) in your everyday work?
  • What feedback have you been given that you might not have incorporated yet?
  • Can you set and share your own goals?

By being honest and open with yourself, you give your employees the chance to see everyone as human, humble, and willing to make mistakes when trying something new. You’re showing them that growth is possible in every situation while improving your organization’s culture in the process.

Whether you’re looking to instill a more positive mentality in your organization or set a good example for your employees, learning to adopt a growth mindset is essential. When you encourage qualities like determination, motivation, and grit, your business doesn’t just become more financially sustainable — it becomes a more positive place to be!

 

 

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