How to Get Your Team in a Growth Mindset
This article was created by BlogHer for LegalZoom.
No matter what industry you’re in, success doesn’t happen overnight. In order for a business to succeed, you need motivation and a growth mindset, according to American psychologist Carol Dweck. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck details her theory of two mindsets: growth and fixed.
A fixed mindset is one where you believe your intelligence or personality is a deep-seated trait and can therefore never change, whereas a growth mindset is one where you believe intelligence can be developed and thus strive to learn from your mistakes. “In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development,” she writes. “This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.”
Essentially, the difference between the two mindsets comes down to one question, which she poses in her book: “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are when you could be getting better?” It’s a question business leaders need to especially take into consideration as they look to build their company and inspire employees to achieve the greatest level. It’s not always easy though, as Dweck acknowledges. “In the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience,” she writes — but it can be done.
Be a coach that inspires
Leadership coach Erin Hatzikostas, founder of b Authentic inc. and former CEO of Payflex, a 1,000-employee healthcare company, advises business owners to focus on creating an inspiration “platform.” That is, build inspiration by empowering staff to inspire each other.
While building this kind of inspirational community can be challenging, Hatzikostas suggests giving team members full control over the development of leadership events and carving out time at team meetings to simply share best practices and celebrate wins. Essentially, developing and promoting a positive, thriving company culture. It’s a task that deserves top billing on any business owner’s priority list. While building culture takes time and commitment, a good first step is making sure you’re creating a better work environment.
“Consider ways to help your employees develop on the job: Apprenticeships? Workshops? Coaching sessions,” Dweck asks. “Think about how you can start seeing and treating your employees as your collaborators, as a team. Make a list of strategies and try them out. Do this even if you already think of yourself as a growth-mindset boss. Well-placed support and growth-promoting feedback never hurt.”
Promote a culture of perseverance
In the business world, “nos” can be a common occurrence, which is why it’s important to maintain a certain level of passion and grit for your career path. Most entrepreneurs need this trait and in turn, need to instill it in their team. Like most things, it requires effort and focus, but by providing rewards, incentives and of course, showing gratitude, employees will without a doubt step up and want to make progress toward a larger goal.
It’s also crucial to make sure you’re finding employees that want to be part of your team as assessing any potential new team members for cultural fit will go a long way toward cultivating the kind of company culture that’s in line with your business’s beliefs.
Yaniv Masjedi, CEO of Nextiva, a business communication platform, tells Legalzoom: “Don’t just hire for raw skills — hire for heart. Someone can learn new protocols within a few months. They can learn a new skill in six months to a year. But learning how to be a decent person? That’s something I’d really rather they bring with them.”
Give constructive feedback and engage with employees
Communication plays an important role in the development of a culture that properly reflects your business’s vision, but growing the culture you want requires more than top-down communication. Leveraging the power of employee feedback and engagement is a key step in developing the right culture for your company, says Legalzoom.
While it may feel easier at times to wait until performance reviews or simply only provide feedback to the employees you believe need it the most, taking time to schedule informal, one-on-ones with team members shows you care about their professional development. It also gives you the opportunity to hear what they have to say and develop a plan of action that works for the both of you.
For Jennilyn Adefuin, people and culture specialist at SEO software company CanIRank, it’s all about championing transparency. “It’s important to get feedback and constructive criticism as your business is growing,” she notes. “This also allows employees to feel more involved and invested in the company. They can trust that their voices are being heard and that we’re all in this together.”
Be a resource for learning and employee growth
Within some companies, managers who interact with their team may seem taboo. You would be surprised how many business leaders don’t want to talk with their employees (a whopping 69 percent of managers said they are uncomfortable communicating with employees), but in order for your business to flourish and lean into the growth mindset, employees need to feel like they can come to you and that only happens when you create an open line of communication.
You may not have all the answers, but by admitting that, you’re also opening the door to educate yourself and expand upon your knowledge. In addition, in order for employees to want to learn, business leaders have to show that a new skillset is within reach.
Presenting skills as learnable is a key factor in getting your team into a growth mindset and one way to do that is to promote from within. It proves that all employees have the opportunity to further their career and therefore, are more likely to be motivated to try new things, ask questions and explore other options within the workplace.