How to Develop a Growth Mindset in the Workplace

Colin Newbold, 29th December 2020 in Development, Feedback, Hiring, Human Resources, People Management, Testing

Whilst reading this article, we ask you to consider: what happens when you have challenges at work? Do you face them head-on, or do you avoid the situation? Are you open to feedback, or do you feel defensive?

In your organisation, some leaders, managers and supervisors naturally wilt in the face of failure or shy away from challenges and others, who are no more talented or able, actually embrace challenges and thrive in the face of failure. These differences ultimately highlight the two key mindsets we see amongst leaders; fixed and growth mindsets.

Your answers to the above questions will give you an indication of how much you fit into a ‘growth mindset’ or a ‘fixed mindset’. In this post, we are going to look at the core differences between these mindsets, how to develop a different mindset, the connection to 360 feedback and how click-360 encourages a growth mindset.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

The terms ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’ were coined by Dr Dweck et al during their research over 30 years ago. They describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. 

A growth mindset is geared towards always learning and improving and does this through embracing different approaches. It is believed that those that demonstrate the growth mindset often have a passion for stretching themselves and committing to their goals, even (or especially) when it’s not going well. This mindset allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives and their careers.

In Dr Dweck’s research, the team saw how having a certain mindset and approach towards tasks and learning can influence how much individuals can achieve and their ability to constantly grow and improve.

What Is a Fixed Mindset?

A fixed mindset is when you believe you are born with a certain amount of fixed traits and talent and that is it. Leaders that demonstrate a fixed mindset can often feel embarrassed if they fail or are excluded or rejected and feel they are not the person they want to be. Dr Dweck also suggested that fixed mindset individuals may also feel ashamed if they do not achieve their goals. Shame is not a productive emotion – it makes you want to hide or lash out at someone.

Does a Fixed Mindset Hinder Business Growth?

Just like in education, your employees and organisation as a whole should be constantly learning and improving. A fixed mindset can appear positive on surface value, but labeling people as ‘smart’ or ‘eager to learn’ can actually put pressure on them to take the easier option and not challenge themselves. Individuals or leaders that present a fixed mindset often don't have a good attitude towards failure and therefore can have a negative inner voice; this can in turn hinder the individual's growth. This can not only affect leaders on an individual level, but also in the workplace as a whole. 

Mindset Towards 360 Feedback 

Regardless of which mindset your leaders demonstrate, don’t be afraid of feedback. You should always be asking for feedback, every day and in every way.  Who was it that wrote “feedback is the breakfast of champions”?

Fixed Mindset Leaders and 360 Degree Feedback

  • Avoid situations where they might receive feedback
  • React negatively to constructive feedback
  • Resist giving feedback to support peers

Growth Mindset Leaders and 360 Degree Feedback

  • Are open and willing to receive and initiate feedback
  • Are ambitious to act upon constructive feedback
  • Are committed to bettering themselves

What is a 9-box Grid & Why Leaders Find it Helpful?

Whether you’re trying to place yourself or your team member on this matrix, visualising it is a great place to start. Start by mapping your talent against the two axes, these are typically performance and future potential. In general, the higher and further to the right you are placed, the more likely to demonstrate a growth mindset. This matrix helps leaders to identify other future leaders, rising stars and high potentials within their team. 

How Can You Develop a Growth Mindset in Your Business?

Firstly, start by educating senior employees and mentors within the organisation, if they are not aware of the mindset categories, how can you expect them to make a change. 

Secondly, it is important to demonstrate the right behaviour from the top down. For example, consider how existing leaders and c-level individuals approach challenges. Your employees should echo that behaviour. 

Lastly, dedicating the time, energy and resources to ensure that everyone can grow and reach their full potential individually is crucial. 

If existing leaders are aware and are looking to transition from fixed mindset to growth, you should encourage them to acknowledge when they are facing a challenge and to ask themselves - “are you thinking you are going to expose yourself to others, showing them that you are not as clever as they think you are?”  What happens when you meet an obstacle or have a set back – do you think, “I’m not good at this”?

Watch out for those trigger moments when you meet a challenge and think to yourself, is this a fixed or growth mindset? As a leader, you should endeavour to always have a growth mindset, a much healthier way of thinking and living. It also helps you be a better person outside of your working environment.

Why click-360 Encourages a Growth Mindset

If you are dedicating the time and space to enable your business to grow, running a series of 360 degree feedback implementations for anyone with people management or supervisory responsibilities will kick-start a growth mindset.  As a 360 feedback participant, the perceptions of your colleagues are displayed in front of you together with your own self-perceptions.  The feedback will allow you to step back and consider your words and actions, ensuring you can facilitate the best circumstances for all of your colleagues to flourish. Regular feedback sessions, analysing data and being consistent with your approach, can switch your mindset from fixed to growth.

Implement the 360 programme(s), ensure that participants develop an action plan and chart the progress of each participant.  Run a second 360 with each participant within 12-18 months to ensure progressions. 

We are the go-to company for 360 degree feedback in the UK, whether your requirement is for a single 360 or for multiple cohorts.  We provide off-the-shelf implementations or we can custom-build a 360 feedback application to your specific requirements.  Just email for more details.

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