Every so often a theory comes along that gets us to re-evaluate the way we think about ourselves. You’ve probably heard the term growth mindset bandied about quite frequently of late – but what actually is it and how can it affect our productivity in the office?
What is a ‘growth mindset’?
According to extensive research by Psychology Professor Carol S. Dweck, your mindset affects how you perceive your own intelligence, talent and potential. People with a fixed mindset believe that their ability is pre-programmed and inflexible. Those with a growth mindset on the other hand view their brain as a muscle that can be developed and strengthened through hard work and effort.
What’s more, you’re not born with one or the other: you can reprogram your own mindset.
Take me as an example. At school, I got it into my head early on that I hated maths and convinced myself that I just couldn’t do it. Low and behold, I struggled my way through a GCSE, barely scraping a pass.
Ten years later, when I had to pass a tricky numeracy test, I approached my preparation in a completely different light. I embraced the challenge, sought help from a maths teacher I knew and did my own research; my new founded growth mindset enabling me to pass relatively unscathed.
- Constant praise will encourage a growth mindset
No. The focus should be as much on challenge as success.
- Individuals can only change their mindset themselves
Incorrect. Other people can help instil a growth mindset.
- It’s all about effort, not achievement
Nope! The growth mindset should be viewed as a vehicle for learning and improvement.
How can I create a growth mindset culture in my office?
Context- as always- is everything. Your company’s ethos must be designed to facilitate growth mindsets in order for them to multiply and thrive. Your business should be willing to adapt and change, you should know the skill set of each employee and you should focus seriously on training and development.
“Mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success…they change the definition, significance, and impact of failure…they change the deepest meaning of effort.” (Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential Carol S. Dweck, 2007)