Leaders face tasks, challenges, mistakes, and often setbacks daily. Whether leading a team of five or one hundred, what sets leaders apart is their ability to navigate these challenges and setbacks and learn from them.
Research shows that leaders with a growth mindset are often more successful in various areas of their life, including at work. This is because these leaders embrace challenges and strive to constantly enhance their abilities whilst empowering their people to do the same.
If you are looking to develop your leadership skills this year, developing a growth mindset is important. But why?
In this blog, we share four reasons a growth mindset is important for leadership to support you.
What Is a Growth Mindset?
Proposed by Carol S. Dweck, a growth mindset is defined as:
"a belief that one's abilities and intelligence can be developed."
This mindset contrasts with a fixed mindset, which is the belief that one's abilities and intelligence are static and cannot be changed.
Let’s say you empower an employee to make a decision based on their research, expertise, and work they’ve already completed. A few weeks later, your employee comes back to you with some feedback, and they aren’t happy with how their decision and task turned out.
How do you react? Do you say, “oh well, you tried, and now we know it doesn’t work, and we can move on”? Or do you reply and say, “let’s take a moment to sit down together and look at what happened and why so we know how we can learn from this”?
The first reaction is that of a fixed mindset. Rather than looking for the lesson and understanding what’s gone well, what hasn’t gone so well, and what can be improved in the future, those with a fixed mindset essentially accept that something hasn’t gone to plan and look to move on from it. In contrast, the second reaction is that of a growth mindset. As we can see from the example, leaders with a growth mindset review what’s happened to see what they can learn.
Four Reasons Growth Mindset Is Important for Leadership
If you have a growth mindset, you’re much more likely to embrace any challenges you face, both within the workplace and in your personal life. You’re also more likely to persist if you face a setback, learn from criticism, and find lessons in other people's work.
A growth mindset can also contribute to your success as a leader. When you adopt a growth mindset, your people are more likely to do the same. Instead of viewing something that wasn’t anticipated as a failure, your people will class it as a lesson.
Adopting a growth mindset can also help you identify opportunities, learn, enhance your skills, and support you in becoming more open to change.
Find out more about our top four reasons a growth mindset is important for leadership below.
1. Employees Feel More Empowered When Their Leaders Adopt a Growth Mindset
"When entire companies embrace a growth mindset, their employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also receive far greater organizational support for collaboration and innovation." – Carol S. Dweck
As Carol S. Dweck states, employees are more likely to feel empowered when leaders and organisations embrace a growth mindset. In turn, they often feel a greater sense of commitment, collaborate better with their peers, share their ideas, and act on them.
When your people know that you have a growth mindset, they may feel safer doing without seeking permission first. Rather than fearing making mistakes, they will see setbacks as opportunities to continue their growth and personal development.
2. Leaders With a Growth Mindset Can Identify Opportunities
In the example above, we shared that a leader with a growth opportunity will take the time to learn from setbacks. Leaders with a growth mindset are typically more open to doing things differently than they usually would, providing space for them to identify new opportunities.
Consider the last time something didn’t go quite as planned. Did you dwell on this? Or did you review what happened and identify a new solution or way forward? If you did the latter, your growth mindset supported you in identifying an opportunity that you may not have thought of before.
In developing a growth mindset, asking yourself the following questions can help identify additional opportunities.
What is missing?
What other avenues can we explore?
What is going well?
What else could we do?
Have we overlooked anything?
3. Leaders With a Growth Mindset Are Constantly Learning and Improving
As noted in the above point, when you move away from a fixed mindset and towards a growth mindset, you open yourself up to opportunities you may not have otherwise considered. With this comes an ongoing chance to learn and improve.
Every time you ask yourself what other avenues could be explored or ponder what else you could be doing, you permit yourself to learn. When you do this, you can find new ways of doing and learn how to improve going forward.
Although this can be daunting, a growth mindset can reduce fears surrounding questions such as, “what if this doesn’t work out?” or “what if this goes wrong?”. Rather than focusing on these what if’s, you’ll be more likely to consider all the benefits of doing x, y, or z.
A growth mindset that enables you to learn and improve constantly doesn’t just benefit you and your leadership capabilities. It also benefits your people as you develop a learning culture within your organisation.
4. Leaders With A Growth Mindset Are Open to Learning and Change
Following on from the above reason growth mindset is important for leadership; leaders who adopt this mindset are much more open to learning and change.
As confirmed by Stanford University, when you have a growth mindset, you know that it’s okay for you to change as you move through life. In turn, your openness to embracing challenges and learning from them is more significant.
Rather than viewing chance pessimistically or fearing change, you welcome change as you know that you can continue to learn and develop. This is particularly important as your people develop their growth mindset.
Rather than rejecting new ideas that haven’t been tried and tested before when approached by your people, your growth mindset will encourage you to empower them to try. You’ll also welcome new ways of doing things if, for example, a new employee demonstrates an additional way to carry out a specific task.
Not only will this show your people that you value their opinions, drive, passion, and expertise, but it’ll support you in developing a psychologically safe workspace that embraces change.
Developing A Growth Mindset
Developing a growth mindset takes time. However, this is not to say it can’t be done.
Working with a leadership coach can support you in developing a growth mindset by identifying areas where you can develop. A leadership coach can also:
Provide clarity and a different perspective, which can open your eyes to change, new ideas, and different ways of doing things.
Offer feedback and support you in reaching your goals.
Assist you in setting goals to overcome challenges.
Contact Us Today
Having explored four reasons a growth mindset is important for leadership, it’s natural that you may consider how to adapt your mindset.
If this resonates with you, contact us today. Our team of twenty credible coaches are on hand to support you in navigating this chance and leaning towards a growth mindset.