You’ve experienced the benefits of having a growth mindset in your own life. It’s helped you get where you are today.
But like any concept that expands your mind and challenges your paradigms, it’s got you looking more critically (even judgmentally) at those around you who may have limited their abilities by maintaining a more fixed mindset. You may have employees who see themselves as victims of circumstance rather than champions of their own successes and capable of endless growth and expansion.
It’s frustrating. But as a leader, you understand that handing them a book or mandating a team class isn’t going to change culture overnight. That said, you can expand the thinking in the workplace and help employees find this mindset for themselves.
Why You Need a Growth Mindset Team
People who have a growth mindset:
- Want to be challenged because they see these as opportunities for growth
- Persist despite obstacles because they see it as something to overcome
- Are motivated to learn at every opportunity
- Are open to constructive feedback and don’t see feedback as a personal attack
- Do not fear change and rather adapt to it eagerly
- Are supportive of the ideas of others even if they don’t agree with them
- Never see effort as pointless even if something didn’t work. It’s all part of the process of improving workflow.
- Seek to master even the most menial tasks
- Show greater commitment to the company because they feel heard and respected for their ideas.
1. Encourage Experimentation
Experimentation is the key that unlocks innovation.
People who have a fixed mindset are often afraid to try new things. If they’re not good at it immediately, they think this reflects poorly on them as a person. But who becomes an expert at something right out the gate? This is why a fixed mentality holds so many people and teams back.
Think about it in terms of evolution. Every once in a while, a genetic anomaly occurs. Some of these anomalies become disadvantages. But others are an improvement, and so the genes for that anomaly get passed on. As a whole, the species gets stronger and better as that advantageous gene becomes dominant. But without genetic experimentation, that species would never have evolved. And we’d still be an amoeba.
In business, this impacts your competitive advantage. You stay stuck in 2010’s processes, while the future-ready companies you’re competing with are moving into the 2020s with new and better ways of doing things.
So experimentation is ultimately good. Not because every experiment improves things, but because the more you learn about what doesn’t work, the more efficient you become.
In many workplaces, you need standard operating procedures. But encourage those performing the tasks to offer suggestions. Set up experiments on a small scale. Measure and adopt them globally. Give recognition where it’s due.
2. Handle Failures Productively
Failures are learning experiences. It’s not just a saying. Your actions should convey your belief in this truism.
Note: This isn’t an opportunity for you to tell the employee everything they did wrong. Instead, encourage the employee to evaluate what didn’t work and what you can do better.
Be careful not to punish people for failing. Not every idea is golden. But sometimes, that’s not obvious until you put it into practice. This doesn’t reflect on the employee’s intelligence or job skill.
You don’t want to generate a team of naysayers who are just looking at why something won’t work. It’s good to consider that side, but too many focus there and can’t see beyond.
When you make it clear that you respect new ideas, employees are less afraid to take risks, and you’ll end up with better outcomes.
3. Encourage Continual Learning
People learn on the job, from their peers, from books, and even YouTube. Encourage employees to expand their knowledge through every avenue possible. If you have employees who didn’t complete their formal education, they can seek out an education online and even find tuition-free options through companies like University of the People. With today’s online courses, employees can be 100% productive at work and still pursue their educational goals.
4. Be Open to Feedback
If you get defensive when employees provide you with feedback, then you’ll get the same from your employees. True leaders lead by example, so make sure growth mindset isn’t just a concept in your mind. It’s something you practice on a daily basis.
5. Improve How You Measure Performance
Are you rewarding employees for working brutally long hours? When evaluation time comes around, do you praise the employee who came in on the weekend? You may be inadvertently rewarding behavior that has nothing to do with performance.
Instead, find ways to measure the outcome by the quality of work. This is not directly conflicting with suggestion number two. You can reward the quality of work while still encouraging employees to think outside the box and try new things.