Creating a Growth Mindset in the Workplace
Updated: May 31
In today’s fast-paced and every changing workplace, it can be difficult for employees to be willing to constantly rise to the challenge of improving their skills and being engaged at work. This is why encouraging a growth mindset needs to start being prioritized by managers and the organization at large.
People with a growth mindset are individuals that believe that their success depends on time and effort. In other words, skills don't magically appear overnight. A growth mindset can increase employee engagement and inspire employees to own their performance as they constantly seek to improve their skills. In this article, we discuss the importance of a growth mindset and how your organization can encourage your workplace to adopt a growth mindset.
Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset
Many people believe that they are born with traits, talents, and qualities that are “fixed”, and that no course of training or adaptability can change those traits. This frame of thought is not ideal in any setting, let alone the workplace. It leaves individuals feeling ‘stuck’ in the same place with little motivation to improve their skills or advance in their careers. Overall, an individual with a fixed mindset may not be committed to evolve and improve, as they are under the impression they can do little to change what they have. On the other hand, individuals with growth mindsets are continuously open to setting new goals, trying new tactics, and improving their skills. As a result, these individuals are engaged in their work. All organizations should be fostering a growth mindset in their organization from the get-go. It is good for employees and it’s good for business.
How to develop a growth mindset
1) Set individual developmental goals
Employees have been trained to reach a certain number of sales, to sell a certain amount of a product, or to finish a project in a certain amount of time. While these goals are certainly important in organizations, employees (with the help of their managers) need to be setting additional professional goals, such as developing or honing a certain skill. These goals are not focused on final number, but instead they are focused on individual growth.
These individual developmental goals are incredibly important in the workplace. For one, it helps individuals grow their skill set. This is becoming more important, particularly to the younger generations in the workplace. In fact, the number one priority for Generation Z as they look for a job is growth opportunities, and 76 percent see learning as the key to their advancement. These types of individual developmental goals may not be the typical goals a manager brings up in performance reviews, but managers should certainly start to! It can show direct reports that their manager (and the organization overall) is serious about their development and success overall.
2) Continuously ask for feedback
Employees may think they are doing a good job, but unless they are continuously receiving and asking for feedback, they may have little idea about their performance. Receiving feedback is the best way to know where one’s performance stands, and it helps improve overall performance. In a growth mind set, an individual is sharing and requesting feedback often. Actively listening to the feedback and developing a tactical plan to improve is also important. We also recommend documenting the feedback and goals so both managers and employees have access to them.
3) Embrace failures as a learning experience
Being able to look at the situation, analyze what went wrong and what needs to be done differently in the next similar experience, and making a plan to ensure mistakes will not happen again are important steps to cultivate a growth mindset. Once failure is seen as an opportunity to improve, employees won’t be as afraid of failure. It can also help employees gain more confidence in their own abilities and skills. Managers need to be aware that there will be times where employees will not meet expectations, and they must recognize that and come up with solutions to these failures. This helps build trust in the workplace.
There is always room for improvement in the workplace. It is up to managers and leaders of the company to continuously encourage their employees to push their boundaries and learn new skills. Fixed mindsets in the workplace are no longer meeting expectations if companies want to be successful. Growth mindsets are being embraced by top organizations and it is up to employees but also organizations to establish this mindset.
How is your company encouraging your employees to have a growth mindset? Let us know!