How to Develop a Growth Mindset
Having the right mindset can help you make leaps and bounds in both your leadership career and your personal life. You’ve probably heard that having a growth mindset is crucial for success as a leader, but what exactly is a growth mindset, and how do you develop that?
Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
The term ‘growth mindset’ was coined by psychology professor Carole Dweck. According to Dweck, people have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset believe that the intelligence, character, and abilities they have don’t change and that they can’t develop new ones. They view ‘failure’ as simply proof that they are unable to achieve something.
People with a growth mindset believe that they can grow, are always learning and that they can learn and develop new skills and qualities throughout their lives. They view ‘failure’ as simply a learning opportunity to grow from, and not evidence that they are incapable of something.
Having a fixed mindset can have a negative impact on all areas of your life, not just your leadership career. In contrast, a growth mindset allows you to see beyond the basic premise of success and failure and embrace the bigger picture. In her book, Mindset, Dweck comments:
“In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.”
How a growth mindset benefits leaders
Leaders with a growth mindset are naturally inspiring, and because they live and breathe the idea of continuous learning and improvement, their teams often follow suit.
A growth mindset allows you to be a more resilient leader, because you understand that any setbacks are temporary. Leaders with this mindset know that if you can understand what led to failure, you can also learn how to succeed. It also naturally leads to setting high standards and stretching goals in order to develop, learn and grow.
Leaders with a fixed mindset can sometimes fall into the trap of setting goals that they are almost certain to achieve. While they may look good on paper, they’re keeping you static and stifling your ability to develop, learn and grow as a leader.
Finally, when you approach tasks with a growth mindset then you are applying a philosophy of persistence and perseverance that studies are beginning to show is consistent with success.
5 ways to develop a growth mindset for leaders
As a leader, having a growth mindset can completely change both what you aim to achieve, and how you define success. But when you’re in a fixed mindset, how do you change that?
Here are five simple ways to change your fixed mindset to a growth one.
1) Value and reward learning and progress over ‘natural’ talent.
Both in yourself and in the people you lead. With enough effort, any skill can be learned and any outcome can be achieved. People with a growth mindset enjoy the process of learning and the journey to the outcome as much as they enjoy achieving a successful outcome.
2) Learn from mistakes – both your own and others.
Accountability is important, but too much fear of failure stifles creativity and breeds a fixed mindset.
The ability to see failure as a powerful learning tool is key to a growth mindset. Encourage an open culture where new mistakes are embraced and learned from.
3) Encourage a 360-feedback loop.
Become self-aware about where your strengths, aspirations, challenges and development areas are. People with a growth mindset actively seek out feedback from others and take steps to develop and grow based on that feedback.
4) Embrace challenges.
Look at every challenge as an opportunity for growth. When you accept that failure can bring great learning opportunities, challenges become less daunting and more exciting. A growth mindset allows you to stretch outside your comfort zone with ease. But if you’re not quite there yet start by pushing yourself to embrace all challenges.
5) Be tenacious.
The old adage: if at first you don’t succeed… embodies a key part of the growth mindset. It doesn’t matter if it takes one try, or ten. If it’s an outcome worth achieving, then put in the effort required to learn and grow enough to achieve it. Every failure is simply one step closer to success.
How leadership coaching can help you develop a growth mindset
Changing your mindset can be hard work. It’s easy for old habits and thought patterns to slip back in, especially in times of stress. Working with a leadership coach helps you identify how to keep moving towards your goal of a growth mindset. It means you have someone to help you see when you might be slipping into your old fixed mindset behaviours.
But it won’t be a walk in the park!
I will dig deeper than you might find comfortable – because I want you to see the best in yourself.
I will question your beliefs and assumptions – because I want you to feel confident, trust in your decisions and believe in your abilities as a leader.
I will challenge you and push you to develop and grow outside your comfort zone – because I want you to feel energised and inspired.
If you’re ready to step into your success as a leader and want to learn more about how I can help you develop a growth mindset, then book a call with me today.