Think about a type of work or a hobby you love to do. Think of your mindset when you’re enjoying that activity. We’ve all had moments when we’ve been so engrossed in something we’re doing that when we look at the clock, the amount of time that’s passed is truly shocking. At those times, we’ve just been so absorbed that we forgot about the world around us. We’ve also all experienced the opposite—watching the seconds click down at the rate of freezing syrup. The experience of flow is the result of a growth mindset.

Obviously, work is work, and we’re not going to enjoy it all the time, but the lack of engagement among US workers is astonishingly low. According to a Gallup study, in 2021 only 36% of employees in the USA are engaged with shockingly a mere 20% being engaged globally.   Many factors contribute to this, but one often overlooked factor is the influence of a growth mindset on productivity and overall morale.

Understanding the difference between a fixed and growth mindset

A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities are fixed traits that cannot be changed. This can lead to a fear of failure and a reluctance to take on new challenges. On the other hand, a growth mindset is a belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. This mindset encourages individuals to embrace challenges and view failures as opportunities for growth. By understanding the difference between these mindsets, you can begin to cultivate a growth mindset in your workplace.

Understanding the Significance of a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a vital element in productivity, innovation, and persistence. Psychologist Carol Dweck’s research highlights two primary mindsets: fixed and growth. People with fixed mindsets believe they cannot increase their intelligence or change their personality. They rely solely on their perceived abilities. On the other hand, those with a growth mindset believe in their ability to develop and see failure and criticism as opportunities for growth.

Adopting a growth mindset offers numerous benefits. These include increased resilience, improved collaboration and communication, and enhanced motivation to try, reach, and succeed. In the workplace, this mindset can make a significant difference in employee engagement and overall satisfaction. Here’s how you can foster a growth mindset in your team:

1. Unite Everyone Around a Common Goal

Most organizations have mission statements that define company values. However, truly embodying these values at every level can vary. Encourage employees to explore the “why” behind their work and rally them around a shared vision. By helping them understand their value in achieving this vision, they will feel more engaged, leading to a growth-oriented mindset and the ability to innovate and develop.

2. Lead By Example

To foster a growth mindset in your employees, you must first adopt it yourself. Learn about the growth mindset, recognize your triggers for fixed-mindset behaviours, and be open to feedback from your team. Cultivate a culture of growth by encouraging peer-to-peer feedback, distributing the responsibility of growth and development between you and your employees, and actively engaging in the process. Use the principles of a “student-centred” approach in education: make sure the responsibility of growth and development is distributed between both you and your team—your employees should be actively engaged in the process, and you should be there to model and assist.

3. Encourage A Culture Of Learning And Development

Embracing a growth mindset in the workplace means creating a culture that values learning and development. This can be achieved through offering training and development opportunities, encouraging employees to take on new challenges, and providing constructive feedback that focuses on growth and improvement. When employees feel supported in their efforts to learn and grow, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work, leading to increased productivity and overall success for the organization.

4. Offer Individual Coaching

Individuals with a growth mindset effectively use emotional intelligence, enabling them to regulate their emotions and stay motivated despite setbacks. Recognize employees who struggle with defensiveness or blaming and offer one-on-one coaching to help them improve their mindset.

5. Embrace Challenges And Failures As Opportunities For Growth

One of the key benefits of a growth mindset in the workplace is the ability to embrace challenges and failures as opportunities for growth. Instead of seeing setbacks as a reason to give up or feel defeated, employees with a growth mindset see them as a chance to learn and improve. This can lead to increased resilience, creativity, and innovation. It can also result in a willingness to take on new challenges and push beyond one’s comfort zone. By fostering a culture that values growth and development, organizations can create a more dynamic and adaptable workforce that is better equipped to navigate the challenges of today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

6. Applaud Effort And Initiative, Not Just Results

Interestingly, praise can sometimes hinder motivation and growth. Focusing on the process rather than solely on results is more beneficial for employee development. Acknowledge both effort and outcomes to build trust and engagement.

7. Foster A Collaborative And Supportive Environment

Another benefit of a growth mindset in the workplace is the ability to foster a collaborative and supportive environment. When employees are encouraged to learn from each other and share their knowledge and skills, they are more likely to work together to achieve common goals. This can lead to increased teamwork, communication, and trust, as well as a sense of belonging and community within the organization. By creating a culture that values collaboration and support, organizations can build stronger teams and achieve greater success.

8. Recognise And Reward Effort And Progress, Not Just Outcomes

In a growth mindset workplace, it’s important to recognize and reward effort and progress, not just outcomes. This means acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and dedication that employees put in, even if the end result isn’t perfect. By doing so, you create a culture that values effort and encourages employees to take risks and try new things, without fear of failure. This can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and job satisfaction, as well as a willingness to learn and grow.

Developing A Growth Mindset In Your Team Is Rewarding

Developing a growth mindset in your organization is a journey that requires time and commitment. However, the rewards of increased engagement, productivity, and satisfaction make it well worth the effort. By following these strategies, you can cultivate a growth mindset among your employees. This will lead to a more successful and fulfilling work environment.

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Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.