Growth Mindset? Don’t Mind If I Do!

I recently joined a viber group that focuses on Organizational Development and Culture Change and is based in Fiji (more on this in the future) and boy let me tell you, it has some of the most insightful conversations I’ve had in while!

A topic that piqued my interest began as a question that a member posed to the group – How do we train or motivate someone to make decisions beyond their qualifications? Complex question right? How would you tackle that? Being the way my mind works, I took the “unbeaten path” and proposed that a preemptive strike on this matter would be to simply develop an environment that promotes having a Growth Mindset in the first place.

So What Is Growth Mindset?

Carol Dweck, the leading most prominent researcher of this field, defines it as believing that your talents can be developed through hard-work, strategies and learning. The polar opposite of this being Fixed Mindset – believing that you are born with talents and you cannot develop them.

To briefly sum up the findings: Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts)

Carol Dweck (HBR, 2016)

Cue Growth Mindset!

Attributes that are contributed to a Growth Mindset include:

  • Learning from mistakes
  • Accepting feedback and criticism
  • Perseverance
  • Mastery goal-orientation
  • Self-efficacy

Benefits of Growth Mindset

If you’re still not convinced of the importance of having a growth mindset yet then this is definitely for You! Buuuuut just to sweeten the pot for you, I’ve listed some benefits that you could gain from developing a growth mindset for yourself, your team and your organization.

Individual Outcomes

Having a growth mindset will definitely influence your behaviour at work! I can’t tell you how much I have learnt just by going to work with an “empty cup” and wanting to soak up whatever anyone wants to send my way.

Believing that you can improve your abilities leads to higher work engagement, higher work satisfaction, higher creativity and improved task performance. How about that for improvements!

I remember trying to write an end of term paper but I had a mental block that had me stuck for a couple of days. In comes my wife and teaches me how to create a writing outline before I actually start penning anything and it helped me through that block and I continue to use what she taught me for everything I write…even this blog! Now I understood that with my current capacity of writing I would probably run into a block more often so I had to learn a new skill to overcome that and once I grasped that concept, I was on fire.

I am sure you can relate as well right? You probably had a similar experience where you felt more engaged at work, you were completing your assignments faster with better results, and feeling great about your job because you were learning new things while at work. These are all real-life examples of the benefits of having a growth mindset!

Team Outcomes

Researchers have learnt a lot about how having a growth mindset has positively contributed to work relationships. Improved relationships increases productivity and boost motivation while also creating a strong work environment that people would want to be in.

Studies have shown a correlation between having a growth mindset and improved feedback and coaching, as well as the positive influence managers have on their teams through this. This last part is important because leaders play a critical role in influencing the mannerisms, behaviours and mindsets of their people. Managers with growth mindsets are more likely to believe that their people can develop their skills and so they (the managers) would create an environment of learning within their teams.

Other benefits also include increased organizational citizenship behaviour and confidence to confront office prejudice which in turn promotes a more positive office-relations outlook.

Whether or not you have an “official” leadership role within your team, having a growth mindset helps you create better team dynamics while promoting a safer learning environment. I’ve had some amazing leaders in my life who epitomized what it was to be a lifelong learner! They wanted to develop their skills to stay in-tune with the changing times so that they could continue to make the right decisions. Through their examples, I have tried to develop my own skill set and broaden my horizons which has led me to do most of the things I do today.

That is what growth-minded individuals do to others! They motivate us to become better versions of ourselves and create better relationships through their own examples. Whether it be in the workplace or in their personal lives, they challenge whoever they meet to evolve with the circumstances.

Don’t you want to be that person for others?

Organizational Outcomes

The benefits already listed may be all fine and dandy but can the organization benefit from having enthusiastic, glass half-full, live-and-learn, and motivational individuals roaming around the offices spreading thoughts of self-development and positivity? Well the short answer is…Yes definitely!

When entire companies embrace a growth mindset, their employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also receive far greater organizational support for collaboration and innovation.

Carol Dweck (HBR 2016)

For example, growth-minded organizational leaders have been shown to impact the company through their lasting influence on their employees. The cultures that are developed by these leaders that promote organizational learning and increasing the collective efforts towards overall performance stands as exemplary outcomes. Positive impacts have also been shown to occur towards fostering relationships, effective communications, and increasing collaborative efforts between individuals, teams and departments.

Having a Growth Mindset, in my opinion, leads to the creation of a “learning organization” that establishes a Psychologically Safe environment which is truly important for companies to have in this age.

I haven’t always had a growth mindset though I can say that I have tried to maintain it ever since I learned of it. It is definitely something I would recommend anyone who wants to succeed to develop and trust me you will not regret it!

If you’re interested in the specific studies on the benefits you can read this amazing paper from the Human Resources Development Review called “Growth Mindset for Human Resource Development: A Scoping Review of the Literature with Recommended Interventions” by Soo Jeoung Han and VIcki Stieha who are both professors from Boise State University, USA.

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