How to Encourage a Growth Mindset with your Team

Do you feel your company’s growth is slowing or that your business has hit a plateau? This might be because your team has settled into their comfort zone and isn’t pushing the boundaries. To get them out of this rut, you need to encourage a growth mindset.

One of the many problems facing businesses all over the world, and in just about every industry is the sense of complacency that comes with everyone being comfortable in their roles. Once this mindset is entrenched in your staff, they won’t be willing to take risks for the betterment of the business.

What they have is known as a fixed mindset; something that Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck explored in great detail. She posited a theory that there were two kinds of people; those with a fixed mindset and those with the growth mindset.

The former believe that they have a given talent and can’t expand it or add to it. Such individuals are comfortable with the skills they have and don’t want to try anything that asks more of them. They view efforts to better themselves as useless and they are hence unable to reach their full potential.

On the other hand, individuals with a growth mindset are believers in perpetual self-improvement. Apart from drawing lessons from criticism, people with a growth mindset take challenges head-on and see extra effort as a way to achieve success. They enjoy going the extra mile in their endeavours.

In order for your business to pull ahead, you need to ensure that your employees embrace a growth mindset. But this is easier said than done, it takes time and effort to get the train back on track.

How do you encourage a growth mindset in your staff?

Getting your business to stand head and shoulders above your competition isn’t a one-man job; it is something that requires the whole team to pull in the same direction.

If you have some members that have developed a fixed mentality, you should utilise the following methods to ensure that they can get out of the corner that they have painted themselves in.

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Encourage continuous learning

When members join your team, they already have skills that they learnt elsewhere. While some of the team members might be looking forward to developing themselves, those with a fixed mindset will be contented with what they have.

But by running various programs where your team acquires new skills, all the members will learn something new. This will prod even the minds of the individuals with the fixed mentality to think about the possibilities to learn more, engage with others and be more productive.

One of the ways to encourage continuous learning is by setting goals that centre on learning rather than mere performance. Performance-based goals are a way for fixed mindset members to prove the ability they already know they have or don’t.

On the other hand, if you set goals that challenge the members to think outside the box and take risks, they will in due course become oriented towards a growth mentality.

Treat failure as a learning experience

In fixed mindset environments, teams fear failure. For this reason, they tend to stay away from taking risks. Opportunities that would have propelled your company past its competition are left by the wayside simply because your workforce is frozen with fear.

Encourage your team to think out of the box and take risks in order to achieve their and company goals. If they fail along the way, you shouldn’t chastise them but rather praise them for taking the initiative. From such actions, you instill a feeling of self-belief into your team that will see the members strive for more and dare to try out their best ideas with your organisation.

Be open to feedback from your team

As you employ mechanisms to encourage a growth mindset in your team, you need to also be willing to take in some feedback from the members. This is because you won’t have all the answers or you might be getting some parts of the process wrong without knowing.

By being open to feedback, you also get other ideas from the team that can help in the whole process of nurturing a growth mindset. This also forges a closer professional relationship between you and your team. This closer relationship will enable you to easily know when your team is on the right track.

Being open to feedback takes deliberation actions such as regularly asking your employees for their thoughts, putting in place secure avenues for anonymous feedback and nurturing a company culture that encourages your workforce to share and communicate often.

growth mindset

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Promote in-house personnel

Many individuals with a fixed mindset see little or no upward progression in their careers at their workplace. And many of them are contented with it because they believe they don’t have the capability to surpass their level. They believe they have hit the pinnacle of their potential.

As a leader in such a situation, you might be tempted to always to give new responsibility to new personnel you’ve hired from outside. This reinforces the fixed mindset in your current team. In order to encourage a growth mindset, you should promote from within your own organisation.

This will galvanise your team to work harder and become more productive in a bid to advance further in your company. Growth for your employees means growth for your business.

In Summary

For your team to move your business in the right direction, it needs members that are focused on growing. However, not everyone has this mentality and they instead have a fixed mentality that is contented with the status quo.

What you need to do is to encourage a growth mindset that will see your team push the boundaries, innovate and take the business to the next level. You should encourage constant learning, hire from within and be open to feedback from the team in order to foster this growth mindset.


Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.