How to Develop a Growth Mindset for Employees

The framework of a growth mindset can provide motivation and support to employees as they progress in their careers. This post will explore how to instill a growth mindset in your employees and how doing so is beneficial to both the company and the individual.

Diverse team discussing ideas around a laptop at a modern office.

What is a growth mindset?

According to wellness content writer and technology consultant Dr. Tchiki Davis, a growth mindset is the belief that our basic job skills can be fostered and improved upon through dedication and hard work. It’s not magic and there is no secret formula.

In her book “Mindset – Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential,” Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck explains that a fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence and creativity are givens that we can’t change. With the absence of a growth mindset, we don’t have the motivation to put in the effort, and so we getstuck.”

The good news? You can decide to adopt and implement a growth mindset at any point in your life. Dweck says that a growth mindset is built on being challenged and values failure as “a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

How do you train employees for a growth mindset?

Developing a growth mindset is based on the willingness and commitment of both employers and employees to adopt positive change in the workplace culture. Here are some practices your organization can adopt to help develop a growth mindset.

  • Encourage your employees to believe in themselves. Show them that their talents and skills can be built upon by putting in the time and effort.
  • Show them that failure leads to success. Give your employees time to improve what was not successful the first time. Failure does not define a person. Learning from failure is an important part of a growth mindset.
  • Provide feedback yourself and encourage employees to get feedback from other people. Different points of view can be invaluable in defining your areas of development.
  • Foster curiosity by creating a culture of learning and growth. If you offer learning opportunities, your employees will take advantage of them. Otherwise, your staff may default to staying in their respective lanes. Employees who won’t leave their comfort zone will not have a desire to do offer more to your organization.
  • Embrace imperfection. If your employees are hiding from their weaknesses, you will never get the most from them.
  • Challenge your employees and motivate them to excel. Those with a growth mindset are fueled by challenges that move them towards their goals.
  • Help them love what they do. Those who love what they do are more motivated to grow and rise to the top more organically.
  • Teach tenacity. It forms part of a person’s character and is essential in working towards a goal. This is what separates an amateur from a professional.
  • Be inspirational and lead by example. Those with a growth mindset love to see others succeed as well. Their genuine happiness and excitement for others translates to their own success.
  • Acknowledge that one size does not fit all. One type of training may not work for everyone, so be open to different learning paths and styles.

Dr. Dweck shares more thoughts on how to develop a growth mindset, from placing effort before talent, to updating your vocabulary to redefine words like “genius,” and to using more language that provides positive reinforcement.

Why should your company encourage a growth mindset?

According to Dr. Alexander M. Clark and Bailey Sousa, the growth mindset has many researched benefits, including:

  • Being more comfortable taking risks and working towards bigger goals
  • Higher motivation
  • Enhanced brain development across wider ranges of tasks
  • Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
  • Positive working relationships
  • Higher overall employee performance

Successful business leaders are actively using these strategies in their organizations. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, shared his simple steps for success using a growth mindset: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Adopting a growth mindset is critical. With a growth mindset, people tend to focus on improving themselves instead of worrying about how smart they are or aren’t. Those who employ a growth mindset understand that you gain knowledge through experience and that intelligence can be developed. They work hard to gain this knowledge and intelligence, which benefits the organization they work for. A growth mindset thrives on challenges and welcomes failure as part of the path to growth and success.

Next steps

Once you’ve helped your employees develop a growth mindset, it is important to continue to foster it. Acknowledgment and recognition for possessing a growth mentality are key to their continued success, and yours. By enabling your employees’ progress toward the achievement of their personal and business goals, you are paving the way for your organization and everyone in it to flourish.

As an employer or an employee, you can educate yourself in a variety of ways to continue to set yourself up for success. Consider KnowledgeCity’s online courses, like Mentoring for Success, as part of your continuing education and training.

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