Leaders with this mindset identify as individuals who believe that their talents can be constantly developed (through effort, good strategies, and feedback from other people). They tend to stand out and achieve more vs. those leaders who have a mentality that we will call “fixed” –more traditional- (who believe that their talents are innate and obtain leadership and power from their position within the organizational hierarchy), because they worry less about appearing intelligent and put more determination and energy to constantly learn.
When entire companies – or specific work teams – adopt this growth mindset, their employees report feeling significantly more empowered and engaged, as well as more support and collaboration within the organization. Internal competition, comparison and jealousy between members of the organization lose relevance and the culture improves.
When a term becomes fashionable and takes importance, it is key to clarify what it is, as well as what it is not or what people can confuse by not knowing or understanding what it means. I share 3 common mistakes about what is sometimes believed to be a growth mindset (so we don’t make them!):
“I already have that mentality, and always have.” – Many times people confuse the mentality Growth with being flexible or adapting well to change or simply being optimistic or positive within a team. The reality is that we are all a combination of a growth and fixed mentality, nobody is one or the other completely and it is something that we must accept and internalize in order to benefit. Humility and being a leader with a certain vulnerability – because we don’t know everything – is part of the process and of accepting the right mentality. “A growth mindset is recognizing and rewarding effort.” – False. The result is very important. Too much effort without results translates into inefficiency and is never good. While it is important to acknowledge effort, it is critical above all to acknowledge and reward learning and progress, such as testing or trying out new strategies or ideas. “Let’s talk and adapt the growth mindset and good things will come.” – Having a well-written vision and mission helps but is never enough. In organizational development and culture, intention is NOT what counts. Organizations and teams that truly embrace this mindset help it become part of the culture: they encourage risk-taking without consequences, reward relevant learnings even without end results, encourage collaboration between teams and functions rather than competition between team members, and they are committed to the professional and personal growth of each of the team’s collaborators – their development, learning and evolution to be able to develop to their maximum potential.
As you can see, a mentality Growth – of growth– It is not easy to accept and obtain because it is counterintuitive: you must start by accepting and recognizing that we ourselves still have many opportunities to continue growing, as well as our teams and our entire organization.
How can we be part of the solution and not the problem?
How can we help human resources to NOT foster an environment of competition among peers, but of growth for all?
How can we start by ourselves? = Modify behaviors, share more information, be more transparent, collaborate and innovate more, proactively seek feedback and accept our mistakes, not take things as if they were a personal issue or attack.
It’s hard work, to be sure, but the leaders, marketers, and organizations that do it will have a significant advantage vs. your competition. And you, have you already discussed it with your team, your boss, and your organization? I am inviting you to what you are doing.