Mindset Misconceptions: What Having a Growth Mindset Really Means

By Jennifer Eng

The growth mindset, which is the idea that people can develop and improve their talents and skills through dedication and hard work, has grown in popularity in the workplace. However, the growth mindset is often misinterpreted. To learn how leaders create a growth mindset in their organizations, the NeuroLeadership Institute interviewed HR practitioners on their work and talent processes, and as a result, revealed several common misconceptions around the growth mindset. Having a growth mindset doesn’t mean solely striving for business growth—“it is much larger than the objective of improving earnings.” A growth mindset does not include limitless possibilities, nor should employees feel they need to behave as if they have infinite resources and exhibit a constant “can-do” attitude. Instead, leaders must still realistically consider employees’ cognitive capacity. 

The Truth Growth Mindset

Here’s a reminder of what having a growth mindset really means: “a culture that fosters a growth mindset is a culture in which all employees are seen as possessing potential, are encouraged to develop, and are acknowledged and rewarded for improvement.” The survey found that leaders who closely follow the science of the growth mindset are “weaving it into the employee experience across onboarding to talent acquisition and succession planning, to leadership development and career development.” 

Cultivating A Growth Mindset In The Workplace

According to Bersin by Deloitte, “a culture that encourages widely distributed leadership growth and continuous learning is typically linked to better overall performance,” and growth mindsets are invaluable for cultures that are focused on continuous learning. To develop a true growth mindset within organizations, Bersin suggests leaders help train managers to think and act with a growth mindset and incorporate a growth mindset into daily activities, such as one-on-one check-ins and meetings. When companies embrace a culture of continuous learning through a growth mindset, they also encourage their employees “to expand their thinking, look for opportunities, innovate, build critical capabilities, and pivot quickly to adapt to changing market conditions.”

To learn more about creating a true growth mindset, check out this report on creating a growth mindset within a continuous learning culture.

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