Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset in the Workplace

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According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that promote a growth mindset at work are more likely to have employees that are committed to their organization and feel a significant sense of ownership. We will discuss the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Additionally, we will explain why cultivating a growth mindset is vital. 

Fixed Mindsets

Generally speaking, individuals with fixed mindsets are known to avoid challenges and give up easily. These individuals believe that intelligence is static. Therefore, they view effort-consuming tasks as meaningless or, at least in part, less valuable than seemingly simple tasks. Individuals with fixed mindsets commonly ignore constructive feedback because they see negative comments as a sign of failure or defeat. 

Because individuals who don’t have a growth mindset at work lack resilience, they may throw in the towel if they feel that their initial efforts are imperfect or unsuccessful. Although they are unwilling to work hard to achieve their goals, those with fixed mindsets continue to feel threatened by the success of others, whether close peers or strangers. As a result of the above qualities, individuals with fixed mindsets struggle to flourish within a myriad of settings.

Growth Mindsets

Unlike those with fixed mindsets, growth-oriented individuals believe that intelligence can be developed. These individuals choose to learn from the criticism of others and are inspired or driven by the success of those around them. Individuals with a growth mindset at work view gaps in their expertise as opportunities for mental, physical, or psychological improvement.

It is commonly thought, among those who are growth-minded, that work ethic determines performance. This leads growth-oriented individuals to embrace challenges and persist, regardless of difficult setbacks. Overall, individuals with growth mindsets believe that their effort and eagerness to learn will result in mastering skills they view as invaluable.

Growth Mindset in the Workplace

Within professional contexts, it is clear that growth mindset employees are willing to work harder and more innovatively for their companies, expecting that they will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Also, because they are not risk-averse, growth-minded employees are open to ventures such as taking on additional tasks, mastering new skill sets, or performance coaching

The relationships that growth-oriented employees have with their employers are mutually beneficial. This is because these employees are driven by the potential to execute expert-level skills and do not fear the obstacles which may arise during their pursuits of success. In return, organizations flourish and are likely to reward the employees who have pushed themselves and achieved great professional accomplishments. 

How to Create a Growth-Minded Company

So, how can a company become powerfully growth-minded? Start fostering professional relationships with employees who have a growth mindset in the workplace. Challenge employees to think about their subconscious reactions to constructive feedback and newly assigned projects, as well as their commitment to completing difficult tasks. 

In addition, consider using behavioral interviewing techniques to find out which job applicants express beliefs associated with being growth-oriented. Instead of hiring candidates based on their past accomplishments and encouraging them to cultivate a growth mindset after the fact, prioritize finding applicants who have a continued passion for learning and seek to evolve alongside your company, as this is a sign of exponential potential. 

Zach Smith

Zach has been a trusted voice in mindset, career optimization, and leadership coaching for over 10 years. He has coached thousands of employees across mid-market and enterprise-level organizations, aligning their careers with true calling and passion to create total life fulfillment.


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