Cultivating a Growth Mindset: How to Help Your Team Develop One

What makes a great employee? Many employers would say it’s their previous academic achievements or relevant job experience, but are these the most accurate predictors of success? It’s a question HR managers and leadership teams have debated for years.

Those who adhere to a more “old school” philosophy believe a person’s credentials are the key determinant and seek out individuals with the right skills and competencies when growing their teams. To these employers, a person who has excelled in similar positions and demonstrated their intelligence via academic standing is a sure bet for success within their company.

On the flip side of this philosophy are those who prefer to hire based on culture and values. These employers seek out individuals with specific attributes and attitudes, believing that you can learn technical skills and competencies over time.

But what if there was another alternative? What if employers didn’t necessarily have to seek out new candidates to meet their workforce demands? What if, instead, they began cultivating a growth mindset with the team members they already have?

Let’s look more closely at what this means and the advantages of this approach.

What is a Growth Mindset and Why Does It Matter?

A growth mindset is a way of perceiving our abilities, talents, and potential. People with a growth mindset view skills and knowledge as attainable future milestones rather than traits they either possess or do not possess. As a result of this outlook, people with growth mindsets are more likely to see challenges as opportunities for growth and are not as easily deterred from their goals as those with a fixed mindset.

It is beneficial for companies to seek out characteristics of a growth mindset when expanding their teams, as doing so results in a more resilient workforce. Employees with poor resilience are 55 percent less engaged at work — a clear indication it’s best to cultivate growth-based thinking in the workplace.

We also know companies that foster resilience report 60 percent higher revenue growth than those that don’t, which confirms cultivating a growth mindset amongst employees is a benefit to team morale, company culture, and the fiscal viability of a business.

In less specific terms, encouraging employees to develop and maintain a growth mindset lowers staff turnover rates and creates a sustainable workforce. This is because it shifts the focus from seeking outside candidates to fill vacancies to accommodating current team members' professional development and advancement.

12 Tips for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

An employer wondering how to cultivate a growth mindset in an employee or within their organization may find it difficult to know where to begin. We encourage giving the following methods a try.

1. Host Employee Brainstorming Sessions

Empowering your team members to share ideas and contribute to the overall improvement of your company is an excellent way to inspire your employees and motivate them to embrace a growth mindset. When employees know their input is valued and they play an active role in addressing problems or challenges, they are less likely to fear setbacks or view them as obstacles they can't overcome.

2. Leverage Learning Opportunities

It would be a disservice to complete a list of growth mindset tips without mentioning the significance of employee training and development. Providing these opportunities to your team members is essential for increasing job satisfaction and inspiring them to take on challenges and believe in their ability to improve professionally.

3. Welcome Experimentation

When we consider growth mindset importance, one of the most obvious benefits is improved problem-solving. By encouraging your employees to take a creative and unconventional approach to solve problems, you allow them to utilize their skills and talents in new and exciting ways, contributing to a culture of collaboration and possibility

4. Celebrate Mistakes in Debrief Meetings

One of the most valuable characteristics of the growth mindset is the propensity to see mistakes as opportunities for improvement. You can encourage this way of thinking by taking 10-15 minutes to discuss setbacks or lessons learned in post-project meetings. Ask your team what went wrong and how they think the issue can be addressed in the future. And, of course, avoid placing blame or using negative language when discussing the topic.

Want to learn various techniques on how to properly debrief? Watch this clip from the Talent Empowerment podcast with guest Cassie Whitlock, Director of HR for BambooHR, and LeggUP's Ceo, Tom Finn, as they discuss a few frameworks you can easily implement.

5. Conduct Peer-To-Peer Evaluations

To truly cultivate a growth mindset, your employees need to become comfortable with receiving constructive criticism. One effective way to take the stress out of this type of feedback is to have your team members evaluate one another. Receiving constructive criticism from coequals is less intimidating than receiving it from a boss or manager.Plus, it allows your employees to contribute to the growth and development of their colleagues.

6. Correct Negative Self-Talk

This is one of the simplest yet most effective mindset tips for employers and individuals. Maintaining a growth mindset is nearly impossible if you are hard on yourself. If you hear team members speaking poorly about their skills or abilities, gently remind them to be kinder to themselves and let them know you believe they can do it.

7. Encourage Friendly Competition

A bit of friendly competition is a great way to spark motivation and keep your employees engaged. Host a competition surrounding a specific problem or challenge affecting your team and reward the most creative or impactful solution.

8. Get to Know Each Person’s Professional Goals

The stronger your interpersonal relationships are with your team members, the more they will trust that you have their best intentions in mind. Remember, when we answered the question "Why is it good to have a growth mindset?" above, employee engagement and productivity were vital factors. Being deeply familiar with the dreams and aspirations of your team members provides the opportunity to support them, offer guidance, and contribute to their success.

9. Practice Active Listening

You can not make your employees feel valued and empowered without listening to what they have to say. By being intentional about hearing out your team members, you can ensure your workplace environment is one where people feel confident their thoughts and feelings will be held in the highest regard.

10. Make Time For Fun

Inspiration isn't found in a dull and quiet office cubicle. It's found when you're experiencing new things and enjoying life! Give your employees the chance to feel renewed and energized by making fun bonding experiences a part of your routine. Scavenger Hunt, anyone?

11. Affirm Their Autonomy

There's nothing more empowering than providing your employees with the opportunity to take the reins and lead a project or initiative. It gives them a chance to test their new skills and practice decision-making in real-time— a perfect scenario for growth!

12. Provide the Resources They’ll Need

Growth requires a lot of action, and your employees can't do it alone, so invest in resources and support that make the process easier. Whether it's top-of-the-line mental health services, inclusive professional development opportunities, or appealing fringe benefits, providing real, tangible resources is necessary for cultivating a growth mindset in the workplace.

Help Your Team Develop a Growth Mindset with LeggUP

Are you ready to help your employees feel heard, find purpose in their work, and feel empowered to take hold of their careers and wellbeing? We can help with that. Ask us about our game-changing professional development and preventative mental health platform.

Kelvin Thomas, PCC

Chief Experience Officer

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