Every employee in an organization wants to be
better than their first day at work, adaptability has always been a key role in
workplace success. But it seems like now more than ever, our careers require us
to be constantly evolving. Increased automation, AI, and economic trends have
made “punching the clock” for 25+ years a thing of the past. This might seem
like a scary thought on the surface. But personal and professional growth has
always meant wading into the murky areas and exploring, trying, failing, and
We are one of these two types:
People with a growth mindset believe abilities like talent and intelligence can
be developed through dedication and hard work. They are more likely to enjoy
learning, seek out situations to experiment, and see failure as an opportunity
Those with a fixed mindset believe the opposite. They feel they “are who they
are” and were born with a set level of talent, intelligence, and even
interests. Because of this, they’re more likely to seek out opportunities and
situations where these views are affirmed (like doing the same job over and
over to receive praise) and believe that talent alone not effort is the source
As Dweck writes in her book:
“The passion for stretching yourself and
sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark
of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during
some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
A growth mindset does not just help you
thrive in difficult situations. It also gives you the freedom to push the
limits of your abilities, find more Flow, and develop your skills, “resilience
and fail-forward perseverance attributed to the growth mindset.”
How to develop a growth mindset at work
If this all sounds a little high-level, that
is because it is. It’s not easy to think about how you think, so while
awareness is a good first step, we also need to be constantly mindful that we’re
taking a growth approach to our work.
Here is how you can do that:
the power of “Not Yet”
If your job is little more than jumping through hoops, it’s going to be
difficult to embrace a growth mindset. Binaries (pass/fail, right/wrong) are a
breeding ground for fixed mindsets and should be avoided at all costs.
learning goals vs. performance goals
How you set goals can obviously influence the
mindset you bring to work.
Research shows that people with fixed
mindsets are more likely to set performance goals (like moving a metric or
hitting a KPI) instead of learning goals (like bettering your skills). It might
seem like not a big deal but focusing on performance goals defers to short-term
thinking and makes you feel like you either pass or fail. And when you do fail,
it can be devastating.
Deliberate practice is a technique where you
use a systematic approach to building skills. Rather than just going through
the motions, it means going into each session with a specific, challenging
goal, getting constant feedback, and adapting and trying new ways to get
While a fixed mindset isn’t comfortable being
put in a place beyond their comfort zone, a growth mindset revels in it. It
promotes challenge and learning over raw talent.
for improvement feedback We all love praise. But too much of it can make us fall
into a fixed mindset. We fall back on the idea that we’re naturally talented
and forget that the best way to get better at new skills is to learn from your
When you finish a project, ask for feedback
on what you can do to improve. Not just whether the work was good or bad. Dig
deep into areas that could’ve been improved or different paths you could’ve
re-visit and re-assess your long-term goals
A growth mindset requires connecting our work to a bigger purpose. And the only
way to do this is to be aware of your long-term goals and have a plan in mind.
To stay on track, set time aside to go over your goals and make sure they’re
aligned with your work.
Take a minute to really think about the way
you approach your work and your interests. Do you really believe you can grow?
Or are you stuck in a fixed mentality?
Our careers, like our lives, are always
changing, evolving, and growing. And we need to keep up with them if we don’t
want to be left behind.