In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck shares her research on the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is the belief that our skills and abilities are set in stone. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that our skills and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence.
Dweck's work has shown that people with a growth mindset are more resilient in the face of adversity, more likely to take on challenges, and more receptive to feedback. For leaders, these qualities are essential for success.
Growth mindset vs fixed mindset
To understand why a growth mindset is so crucial for leaders, it's first necessary to understand the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
People with fixed mindsets believe their skills and abilities are set in stone. They often shy away from challenges because they're afraid of failing or looking bad. They also tend to give up easily when faced with setbacks.
People with a growth mindset, however, believe their skills and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They're not afraid of taking on challenges because they see them as an opportunity to learn and grow. They also view setbacks as part of the learning process and use feedback to improve their performance.
The benefits of having a growth mindset as leaders
Leaders with a growth mindset are always learning. Because they see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow, they constantly try new things and expand their knowledge base. This makes them better leaders because they're always up-to-date on the latest information in their field. They're also able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. Below are ways that having a growth mindset can help leaders succeed:
1) Embracing change
Growth mindset leaders embrace change and know how to adapt. As they're not afraid of taking on new challenges, they're better equipped to deal with change when it happens. They're also able to adapt their leadership style to meet the needs of their team or organisation. This allows them to be successful in both fast-paced environments and ever-changing industries.
2) Building a resilient team
Growth mindset leaders build resilient teams. They understand that everyone makes mistakes and that setbacks are part of the learning process thereforethey create an environment where mistakes are tolerated and even encouraged. This allows team members to take risks without fear of failure. As a result, team members are more engaged and more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems.
3) Encouraging a culture of learning
Growth mindset leaders encourage a culture of learning. Because they believe that skills and abilities can be developed through effort and good teaching, they create an environment where employees are encouraged to learn new things. They also provide employees with the resources they need to grow and develop their skills. As a result, employees are more engaged and motivated, and the organisation as a whole is able to continuously improve.
4) Fostering innovation
Growth mindset leaders foster innovation. Because they're not afraid of taking on new challenges, they're more likely to encourage employees to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. This allows the organisation to stay ahead of the competition and maintain a competitive edge. In a rapidly changing world, this is essential for long-term success.
5) Creating a positive work environment
Growth mindset leaders create a positive work environment. Because they believe that everyone has the potential to grow and succeed, they treat employees with respect and dignity. They also create an environment where employees can feel safe taking risks and trying new things. As a result, employees are more engaged and productive, and the organisation is able to attract and retain top talent.
Author and Podcast host, Ira Wolfe, describes the post-Covid-19 world as a "never-normal" era that requires a growth mindset.
"We live in an era that I call "never normal," he wrote in a recent Forbes article. "The constantly changing and unpredictable landscape of business today means that old practices and ways of doing things no longer work. To stay ahead of the curve, we must be willing to evolve. It’s not just a matter of learning and mastering new things but accepting that we will stumble and make mistakes and that no one is perfect."
Wolfe added that "A growth mindset can help us become lifelong learners because it allows us to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. When you make a mistake, you don't beat yourself up or think that you're not smart enough. Instead, you view it as a chance to learn and do better next time."