Ready for change and growth mindset - What makes employees and managers fit for the future?

By Yasemin Tahris
Published 06.06.2022

Particularly in a time characterized by speed and disruption, it is essential to be prepared to learn new things and to adapt to a world that is anything but "normal". Lifelong learning is essential today, but it's not just about acquiring new skills, it's also about keeping an open mind. A growth mindset allows you to seek out and explore new ideas, unlearn old habits and experiment with different ways of doing things.

In today's competitive business environment, being good at what you do is not enough. The challenge is to push yourself to be better. That means taking on new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone. Even at the risk of whether you will succeed in doing so.

More than three decades ago, psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor at Standford University, introduced the concept of fixed mindset and growth mindset. She studied the behavior of thousands of children who failed at a task and found that children with a fixed mindset gave up more often than those children with a growth mindset. Dweck's findings are so fundamental that they now have more than scientific implications.

She described these two ways people think about intelligence or ability as:

  • Fixed Mindset: a rigid way of thinking in which people believe their intelligence and abilities are inborn. This mindset can be limiting because people may be unwilling to face new challenges and lack the belief that they can change.
  • Growth Mindset: A flexible mindset in which people believe that intelligence and talents can be developed and improved through experience and learning.

Although skills are always a product of nature and nurture, there is a lot of exciting work that supports the growth mindset.

New findings from psychology and neuroscience demonstrate the brain's enormous plasticity - its ability to change and even reorganize itself. The term "neuroplasticity" refers to this ability of the brain not only to change over time, but also to grow as it learns new things. You can tie the concepts together by saying that a growth mindset encourages trying new things to make the brain function better.

For a long time, it was thought that the brain stopped developing after a certain age. Research now shows that the brain can grow and change regardless of age. However, changes in the brain and in the way we think develop slowly and over time. In any case, practice and repetition are important factors in strengthening a growth mindset. [1]

5 ways to develop a Growth Mindset

  • lifelong learning and investing time to learn new things:
    The volatile and unpredictable work environment means that old practices and approaches no longer work. Evolution is the order of the day and accepting that mistakes will be made. Failures are therefore opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Take chances, accept challenges.
    Get out of your comfort zone, even at the risk of failure. Focusing on trying new things without fixating on the outcome.
  • Dealing with setbacks more easily:
    There will be many times when things don't go according to plan. New and unexpected challenges will pop up. When you don't succeed immediately, perseverance helps you overcome setbacks and keep trying.
  • Helps improve leadership skills:
    People with a Growth Mindset are more likely to become successful leaders because they see the potential in others and pay less attention to their own failures. They believe that people can change and develop, which leads to a more positive attitude and better decisions. In addition, Growth Mindset also promotes a learning culture in organizations.
  • finding a purpose in work:
    For many people, work has unfortunately become a source of stress and anxiety. Many forget why they do what they do and get lost in routine. With a growth mindset, people see work as an opportunity to make a difference. Growth Mindset can help you find a sense of purpose in your work and feel better about yourself.


How can you support employees in developing a growth mindset?

If the fixed mindset predominates in a manager, this can jeopardize the success of the company. On the one hand, because people with this mindset always want to be seen as perfect and do not address their own mistakes. And bosses who label their employees as incompetent from the outset prevent the team from developing further. [2]

Address mistakes frankly

Managers with a growth mindset want to improve permanently and believe in the team's ability to learn. An established error culture in the company helps to learn from mistakes.

Praise - but differently!

Supervisors with a Fixed Mindset, for example, judge in the manner of "colleague X is very fast", "I don't need to ask XY, she certainly doesn't have the confidence to do the presentation". Supervisors with a Growth Mindset take a different stance. They encourage taking a risk and growing from mistakes. "You are someone who is developing - and my job is to support you in that development."

Praise should not only refer to particular good results but should highlight the process that led to the good results. In practice, this might be something like, "Great job putting yourself into this task and trying different techniques to get to the goal."

Ask good questions

Growth Mindset can also be fostered by asking the right questions, "What did you learn today?", "What did you really put effort into today?"

A culture that fosters Growth Mindset is one in which all employees are seen as potential and encouraged to develop. Improvement is recognized and rewarded. Leaders should consider whether their current approaches are actually helping employees realize their own potential and whether team members see failure as a threat or an opportunity. Measuring these factors can help leaders foster a true growth mindset. [3]

With FLOWIT, you get all the features you need to develop your employees in a holistic and structured way. FLOWIT was designed with the idea of bringing ALL employees in the company along and enables you to promote and establish a growth-oriented mindset.

[1] Healthline, Understanding the Connection Between a Growth Mindset and Neutroplasticity, Nathalie Silver

[2] Forbes, Five Business Benefits Of Growth Mindset: How To Thrive In Today’s Competitive Environment, Ira Wolfe

[3] Harvard Business Review, by Heidi Grant, Mary Slaughter, and Andrea Derler, 5 Mistakes Companies Make
About Growth Mindsets