What tips could you give someone wanting to develop a growth mindset at work? What things can you suggest that they do regularly to help them maintain their mindset change? Here are some tips to help you build a growth mindset.

Tips to develop a growth mindset
>> Slide from the Growth Mindset training materials

Why Develop a Growth Mindset?

What is a growth mindset and why does it even matter and how can it benefit you in your work (and also in your personal life)?

The concept of a growth mindset was first introduced by Prof Carol Dweck, and is concerned with how we learn and develop.

The idea, in a nutshell, is that if we are open-minded in believing that intelligence and how we learn is not fixed, then sheer hard work and dedication are worthwhile strategies to become successful at something.

The opposing concept of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, and this refers to when one believes that ability is fixed and that it is not worth trying new things because we might believe, for example, that we will never be good at something – so why try it.

Tips to Develop a Growth Mindset

1. Embrace the power of “yet”.

The word “yet” is a very useful word when you have to deal with something new to you, and you feel discouraged or out of your depth.

For instance, instead of just saying to yourself, “I don’t have the skills”, saying “I don’t have the skills yet” opens up the possibility that you may develop the skills even if you don’t currently have them.
Try to add the word ‘yet’ to your self-talk when your fixed mindset is trying to discourage you.

2. Get in the habit of looking for learning opportunities in every situation

People with a growth mindset have a zest for learning.

If you want to change your mindset, looking for learning opportunities needs to become a habit, rather than something that you do once in a while.

Learning opportunities are not confined to things such as attending a training course, reading or being in formal education.

Instead, they can be found even in small everyday situations and interactions.

For example, when you get feedback. Or even when you observe other people do something that impresses you. Try to learn how they did that.

For instance, your colleague successfully solved a problem they had with some technical equipment in a way that you found innovative and impressive.

Ask yourself, what did they do? What mental process did they adopt that led them to find a solution? What can you learn from this?

Also, ask people questions and become interested in what they do. You never know what you might learn that might be useful for you in the future.

If you have a growth mindset, you are curious about the world around you and you are in the habit of always looking for learning opportunities.

If it helps, until you develop this habit, you can keep a diary where you write down what new things you have learnt every day. Another idea is to ask yourself every morning “What am I going to learn today?” and get excited about the day’s learning opportunities.

3. Step outside your comfort zone

To make sure you develop a growth mindset, look for opportunities to do things that are not usual for you.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be hard, but it can be rewarding once you try.

You might not become the best in the new area that you are trying to engage with (actually, you can expect that you will not do that well at first), but even just trying will be an achievement.

4. Find excitement in challenges

Every time you face a challenge, big or small, try to get excited by it rather than feeling stressed.

It is about reframing the nervous energy that you are feeling.

For example, if you are going to deliver a presentation, you might feel nervous and scared, if you have a fixed mindset. Instead, try to harness the energy caused by your stress response and change it into excitement, i.e., positive energy.

So, instead of thinking “I am so scared about messing this presentation up”, think “I am so excited as this is a great opportunity for me. I am fully prepared for this presentation, and I look forward to sharing my ideas with others”.

5. Seek feedback

A person with a growth mindset has an open attitude towards feedback, because they see it as another learning opportunity.

In addition, if you have a growth mindset, you are in the habit of actively seeking feedback.

Of course, you don’t want to continually pester people for feedback, but you should actively seek it when it is appropriate.

6. Appreciate the process

Every time you think you are struggling, change your mind around and focus on the process.
Life is not just about the destinations we want to reach, but also about the journey to get there.

Life itself is a journey, so try and enjoy the process when you try to achieve a goal and appreciate what you learn.

Growth mindset training course materials
>> Growth mindset training course materials

7. Praise yourself for the progress

Firstly, break down every large project into small goals (i.e., create baby steps for yourself).

Then celebrate and congratulate yourself every time you complete one of the steps that will lead you to achieving your bigger goal. This is a way to focus on the process and help you appreciate it more.

8. Investigate the background of someone you admire

Ask yourself how the people you admire reached their achievements and then try to find out.

Quite often, you will find that people who achieved big things had to work hard for them, whether they had an innate talent or not.

Knowing about the continuous effort that these people sustained or keep sustaining to achieve their goals may motivate you to also put more effort into doing what it takes to achieve your goals.

Benefits of a Growth Mindset in the Workplace

Having a positive mindset at work

When you build a growth mindset, it means that you will be open to trying to learn new things, working hard at improving your ability and skill at whatever it is you are working to improve.

In essence, one can say that a growth mindset is about being positive and believing that anything is possible.

It is not about saying that we can be experts and brilliant at everything but more so that we have the ability to develop our skills and ability at anything we are willing to put in the effort needed.

1. Benefits of a Growth Mindset for Individuals

More resilience

Part of having a growth mindset is that failure does not define you, but it is instead a chance to learn. This attitude is likely to make you more resilient when dealing with setbacks.

More opportunities

If you have a growth mindset, you are more likely to embrace novelty and step out of your comfort zone, which can open up more opportunities for you.

Better problem-solving

Having a growth mindset entails being excited by challenges, which is likely to lead you towards having a more proactive attitude in problem-solving.

More Creativity

Likewise, you are more likely to experiment and to try and see things from different angles, which can lead to more creativity.

Greater adaptability

Somebody who has a constructive attitude towards failures and challenges is also likely to be more adaptable when things in life don’t go according to plan.

Also, they are more likely to deal with change better.

Better stress management

A person who has a growth mindset is not immune to stress but is more likely to manage it better and overcome difficulties in a more positive way (see the stress management training materials to learn more about managing workplace stress).

Enjoying rather than dreading challenges

This is part of enjoying the process, rather than only focusing on the outcome. This attitude applies to overcoming a variety of challenges and learning new things.

Life will always throw challenges at us. Some of these challenges might even become enjoyable, with the right attitude, such as when trying to learn new skills or problem-solving.

Other tougher challenges might never be enjoyable, but we might at least appreciate how we can develop and become stronger through adversity.

Let’s now discuss how when you develop a growth mindset, how it can benefit the whole team and why it may be useful to foster a growth mindset in others (whether you are their manager or a teammate).

2. Benefits of a Growth Mindset for Work Teams and Groups

Appreciation for learning

Having people develop a growth mindset in a team helps create an atmosphere in which learning and development are encouraged and appreciated.

Easier to give and receive feedback

This is because people in the team are less likely to take feedback (see the feedback course materials) as a personal affront and instead take it as an opportunity to improve.

Better empathy, trust and collaboration

If you develop a growth mindset, you are also more likely to be understanding towards others when they make mistakes. You will see their errors as something they can work on, rather than something that defines them negatively.

So, if there are people in the team with a growth mindset, they are more likely to get on and collaborate better.

Better engagement and motivation

Team members who develop a growth mindset are more likely to be engaged and self-motivated, as they tend to like learning and are ready to take on challenges.

Improved morale

As a growth mindset improves resilience and self-esteem, it is also likely to make people feel better.

If individual team members feel better, they are also likely to boost each other’s morale when working together.

Greater adaptability

I have repeated this here because this is likely to happen both on an individual and on a group level.

So, a group formed by individuals with a growth mindset is likely to be more adaptable when facing changes and/or adversity

FAQs

What are 4 steps to develop a growth mindset?

To develop a growth mindset, you can:
1. Always see challenges as opportunities to learn and develop.
2. Work on building your resilience to persist even when things are difficult.
3. Embrace receiving feedback and use it to develop.
4. Look at other people you admire and try and learn from them.

What’s the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?

In short, a growth mindset means that you believe that skills are not fixed, i.e. they can be developed through learning and hard work. A fixed mindset means that you believe that talents are set and cannot be developed.

Who first came up with the concept of a growth mindset?

Dr Carol Dweck is accepted as the person who originally came up with the concept and idea of a growth mindset.

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono