Employees invest around 100,000 hours in their work over their lifetime. But during those 100,000 hours, their mindset about their abilities on the job holds great value and influence over their professional journey and growth.
Though not every employee comes into their job with a growth mindset, managers who are able to nurture and cultivate this attitude can create teams that go far. A growth mindset isn’t just about motivating and engaging your team—it also holds the potential to yield tangible bottom-line results.
Here’s some insight into the importance of having a growth mindset, nurturing that mindset in those you work with, and why it’s important for your organization.
What is a growth mindset?
An employee who has a growth mindset recognizes that talent can be developed. Growth mindset means that everyone, regardless of their current skill level, has the potential to improve with deliberate effort. A growth mindset is important for employees at all levels—from the entry-level employees to top executives.
People with a growth mindset take feedback constructively and use it to make improvements. A growth mindset encourages people to unlock their potential, as they see failures as invaluable learning opportunities and feedback as a way to grow.
Someone with a growth mindset:
- Believes their innate capacities are always malleable and open to improvement.
- Thinks success stems the effort invested in learning and enhancement.
- Views failure as a catalyst for personal growth.
- Strives for perpetual development, relentlessly ascending to greater achievements over time.
What is a fixed mindset?
Employees with fixed mindsets regard their abilities and skills as inalterable traits. This mindset may lead them to sidestep change or enhancement efforts, staying within the boundaries they find comfortable.
Someone with a fixed mindset:
- Believes knowledge, ability, and personality are static and unalterable.
- Thinks success hinges upon acknowledgment of ingrained traits and skills.
- Views failure as the endpoint of their capabilities.
- May hit a ceiling with career progression, lacking ambition for further advancement.
Growth mindset versus a fixed mindset at work
Within the professional setting, employees regularly face challenges and they may have occasional setbacks. What sets these two types of employees apart from each other is their perception of and attitude toward these situations. Typically, these workers categorize challenges into two categories: as a chance to learn or as a blow to their reputation. Psychology expert Carol Dweck outlines the divergence between these two mindsets in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
An example of how an organization can foster a growth mindset is social media consultancy NixonMcInnes. This organization holds a monthly “Church of Fail” gathering. Here, team members openly acknowledge their professional slip-ups, applauding one another in the process. They also engage in conversations centered on alternate ways to navigate these scenarios, fostering an environment of learning and evolution.
By creating an opportunity to showcase failure as opportunity, this organization is able to model growth mindset for their employees. By reframing failure as an opportunity to learn, they are able to create growth opportunities, in contrast to workplaces that prioritize criticism without offering avenues for introspection and continuous self-betterment.
Benefits of a growth mindset
A growth mindset within an organization can help deliver tangible benefits. Here’s a glimpse into the benefits of fostering an organizational growth mindset in the workplace.
- Increased trust
A workplace culture ingrained with a growth mindset nurtures an environment characterized by collaboration, transparent communication, and reciprocal encouragement. Team members are encouraged to embrace risks, exchange ideas, and participate in productive dialogues.
This dynamic yields a profound effect: individuals experience heightened recognition and appreciation for their input, ultimately fostering a robust camaraderie and trust that binds team members together.
Surveys reveal that in such environments, employees are 47% more inclined to perceive their colleagues as reliable and trustworthy.
- Enhanced morale
Within growth-oriented organizations, employees understand their performance is evaluated based on their hard work and creativity instead of inflexible attributes or compliance with short-term thinking. A growth mindset empowers employees to question, contribute their ideas, and avert the pitfalls of groupthink.
Employees who feel their voices hold weight and believe they are entrusted to grow alongside the company show profound levels of elevated morale. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees in growth-minded companies are 34% more likely to show a strong commitment to the organization.
- Augmented innovation and risk-taking
A growth mindset is the base for nurturing innovation and developing a willingness to take calculated risks on an organizational scale.
Innovation powerhouses like General Electric and Microsoft have developed a growth mindset to develop and nurture leaders in their organizations, leading with the belief that important knowledge is gained by failure.
- Increased retention
Lack of opportunity is a key reason many employees move on. By creating opportunities for employees to improve their skills and encouraging them to follow their passions, you can improve engagement, performance, and develop future leaders.
How to encourage a growth mindset?
Here are some ways you can foster a growth mindset in your organization.
- Promote creative expression. Set the stage by outlining your employees’ roles and tasks but grant them the liberty to build their unique path toward fulfilling these duties. Allowing staff some creativity can bring forth more efficient approaches, offering benefits to the entire organizational structure in the long run.
- Embrace cross-discipline learning and mentorship. Empower your employees to take an interest in varied company roles, allowing them to pinpoint areas where they may want to expand their skill base. Encourage collaboration with teams from diverse departments, even creating opportunities for temporary role shifts or allowing individuals to shadow seasoned colleagues so they can learn from their expertise. Additionally, leadership can organize seminars explaining each department’s mission, enhancing their learning journey.
- Support the learning curve with patience. Recognize that growth is an incremental process, and adopting a growth mindset doesn’t mean you’ll start seeing outcomes instantly. As your employees start adapting these skills and embrace this approach to their work, their consistent development will show in gradual yet substantial improvements for your company.
- Champion inclusion and engagement. Your organization can catalyze employee growth by affording equal importance to all ideas. Not every idea needs to be executed, but genuine discussions can heighten participation, leading to better future decision-making.
Achieving professional fulfillment requires fostering a progressive attitude that comes with a growth mindset. It takes time and effort to foster a mindset of growth within an organization. However, the benefits of greater engagement, productivity, and contentment make the work worthwhile.
By encouraging a growth mindset on an organizational level, you can create a more productive and satisfying workplace.
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