How to develop a growth mindset in your team

Post by Open Colleges on August 21,st 2022

You might have heard of the term, “growth mindset.” But, what does it actually mean? The term was conceived by Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, and her colleagues back in 2004.

To put it simply – there are two different types of mindsets, “fixed”, and “growth.” A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is static. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed.

Dweck suggests that those with fixed mindsets will plateau early, and not achieve their full potential. However, people with growth mindsets will embrace challenges, leading to higher levels of achievement.

If you’re a leader or manager, you may be wondering how to develop a growth mindset within your team.

Keep reading to find out how to achieve it!


What is a growth mindset?

Dweck suggested that the view you adopt for yourself “profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

With a fixed mindset, “students believe their basic abilities, intelligence, talents, are just fixed traits.” As a result, people with a fixed mindset avoid challenges, because it makes them feel like they’re not talented or smart. They lose interest when the work gets hard, and give up easily.

Students with a growth mindset “understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence.” As a result, they seek and thrive on challenges. They want to stretch themselves because they know that they will grow and learn.

If you feel stuck in a fixed mindset, there's good news: anyone can learn how to shift into a growth mindset. And a great leader/manager can be instrumental in showing you how!


How can you develop a growth mindset in your team?

High-performing teams tend to share the same qualities: they aren’t afraid to take risks, they embrace big goals, are eager to try new processes, and they welcome the chance to prove themselves and expand their skill sets.

All of these characteristics fall into one category: the growth mindset. Team members with growth mindsets can help create a culture of creativity and expansion.

A growth mindset will see your team push the boundaries and take the business to the next level. Some initiatives you might employ are:

Reposition how you think and speak about failure

When a team member ‘fails’ at a task, you might be inclined to designate that job to another team member. Don’t! You’re effectively saying, ‘they’re not good at that’. This is an example of a fixed mindset.

Instead, support that employee to finish the task by offering additional training and encouragement from yourself and other team members. It’s only when employees are able to push through failures that overall teams become stronger.

Encourage employees to stretch beyond comfort zones

People with fixed mindsets tend to avoid challenges. An effective team leader gently pushes their team beyond what they think they’re capable of. Make sure to give plenty of encouragement and you’ll soon have your employees doing things they never thought possible.

Create a questioning culture

One of the limitations of a fixed mindset, is a person’s unwillingness to be seen as ‘stupid.’ With a fixed mindset, you believe you have a fixed amount of intelligence or expertise, and you continually want to prove it.

This discourages new opportunities for growth. As a leader, instilling a growth mindset in your team, creates a questioning culture. This is where everyone feels like they’re able to challenge or question certain things, empowering your employees to break free of their fixed mindsets.

Identify and minimise pressure points

You can’t expect your employees to focus on growth if their mind is overwhelmed with other factors. If you’re employees are stressed out, they’re unlikely to think ahead. They will be more focused on their current anxieties.

So, keep checking in on your team members. Schedule one on ones, and actively ask the hard questions: Is anything stressing you out at work? How can I help you with that?

With your support, you can help employees overcome their stressors, enabling them to think ahead, and maximise their full potential.

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