Many leaders espouse the benefits of a growth mindset, but they may not employ one in their own lives. People with a growth mindset genuinely want to expand their knowledge and are open to opportunities. Too often, people believe they have a growth mindset but suffer from a fixed mindset, where they struggle to overcome long-term beliefs.
Leaders with a growth mindset are devoted to hard work and take criticism in stride. In fact, these leaders:
Conversely, someone with a fixed mindset remains stuck in the past. These individuals are less likely to be open to risk and prefer the comfortable over the innovative. They may pursue additional education but genuinely believe they have maximized their talents and there’s nothing left to add.
Organizations can adopt a company-wide growth mindset stance to reap significant benefits. When most of their employees want to learn new things and are open to opportunities, important innovation can occur.
However, organizations that continue to operate with a fixed mindset may suffer from a negative working environment dominated by competition and deception.
Leaders may not fully understand the concept of a growth mindset. They may believe in growth at face value but have a misconception about implementing it. Below are four common misunderstandings about a growth mindset.
All humans have natural biases. Biases may be innate or come from environmental factors like upbringing or social circles. There’s often confusion about the definition of a growth mindset. For instance, someone who has an optimistic outlook and is moderately flexible may believe they possess a growth mindset.
However, optimism and positive thinking don’t comprise a true growth mindset. In practice, no one has a purely innate growth mindset. People possess a combination of growth and fixed qualities, and their attitude continues to evolve through learning and experience.
Simply praising people for their efforts to foster learning and innovation isn’t a proper growth mindset. Anyone can try to improve their skills. However, employers must judge their employees by the outcome of their efforts, not their attempts.
The manager should review an employee’s progress when they attempt to improve their skills or implement new processes. The manager should also evaluate how much the employee is willing to try new strategies and get help from others.
Many companies use mission statements and values to encourage their employees. However, a mission statement or broad set of values accomplishes nothing if managers don’t honestly believe in it. Policies must be in place to encourage employees to act on growth and seek innovation.
Employers must encourage risk-taking and collaboration to deploy a growth mindset in the organization. Even if employees cannot meet their ultimate goal, managers have to reward their efforts and identify the lessons learned from the project.
Unfortunately, everyone has limitations. You can try to work around them, but our genetic makeup simply can’t be altered. You will hit a roadblock that you can’t surpass at some point.
Once you understand your limitations, you can adapt to them. You can involve others who have the abilities that you don’t. Individuals who recognize their limits are in a better place to achieve growth since they can work with what they have and find others who can supplant them in other activities.
Chances are that you already possess certain aspects of a growth mindset. However, you can further develop your mindset and reap the benefits by employing specific tools.
A challenge is simply an opportunity cloaked in obstacles. When faced with obstacles, it’s easy to give up and give in. However, if you choose to meet the challenge and overcome it, you’ll develop resilience and further your problem-solving skills.
When the next challenge comes along, you can employ the same tactics. Over time, you’ll change the balance of your mindset to one more focused on growth.
You can’t be successful at everything. You will fail, and that’s just a part of the learning process. However, what you learn from your failures is crucial to developing your problem-solving skills. When you learn from your mistakes, you know what not to do in the future.
Seeking approval is a natural habit we develop in childhood. Approval from our parents, teachers, and friends makes us feel good. However, in adulthood, we can’t please everyone. Sometimes people will be unhappy with our decisions, and that’s okay.
Avoid doing things just to get the approval of others. It’s the wrong goal if you’re seeking growth. Instead, learn to appreciate your failures and what you learn from choosing your own path.
We’re often too focused on ourselves to celebrate the success of others. Just because someone else experiences success doesn’t mean you are a failure. The more you congratulate someone else for their wins, the more likely they are to celebrate yours when they happen.
When an employee or friend experiences success, praise them for their actions, not their physical or personality traits.
For instance, if an employee develops a successful new advertising strategy for a product, you should praise them and the other people involved in the project for their hard work. Avoid telling the employee that their intelligence led to the successful strategy. Instead, applaud their actions.
Creating a growth mindset isn’t easy, but it’s enriching. Organizations that instill a growth mindset in their managers and employees see more innovation, greater collaboration, and increased happiness among workers.
By working toward a growth mindset, you move away from unproductive patterns and encourage creativity.
At Cowen Partners, our renowned executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, CHROs, Chief People Officers (CPOs), VPs of sales, other VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles.
With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition.
That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.
We also invite you to continue exploring more executive recruiting insights from our team: