By Joanna Yorke BBC Worklife
Employers have long insisted that workers have a growth mindset. Today, this skill is more important than ever—and mastering it is possible.
Amid the daily changes in the world of work, there has never been a better time for employees to develop skills that will help them better handle workplace challenges.
This is where the idea of a “growth mindset” comes in, the belief that workers are capable of actively improving their skills, rather than being inherently incapable or incapable of performing certain tasks.
Yet mastering this “can-do” mindset can be harder than it seems. To do this, you must know how to accept obstacles, learn from criticism, and persevere when the going gets tough.
Although we strongly believe that developing such determination is worthwhile, in practice doubts and fears may dominate.
“We have a hard time trusting our emotions,” says Elaine Elliott-Moskwa, psychologist and author of The Growth Mindset Workbook, Princeton, New Jersey (USA).
“When a person says, ‘I feel inadequate,’ that feeling is very powerful, even if it’s a belief in their abilities.” At the heart of a growth mindset is learning to overcome feelings of inadequacy or inadequacy in the face of obstacles and instead recognizing the opportunity to learn. And developing this approach can achieve great benefits. Employees with a growth mindset tap into a useful skill set to manage stress, build supportive relationships with coworkers, cope with failure, and develop traits that help them move forward in their careers.
What is a growth mindset?
Growth mindset emerged as a theory in education in 1988. Elliott-Moscow says: “It’s about why smart kids fail when faced with difficulties despite their true abilities.
A student’s attitude towards a challenge rather than his or her inherent abilities was the determining factor of success. In other words, our perception of our ability to do something can have a significant impact on the outcome of a task.
Approaching a challenge with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset is a choice anyone can make.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor and psychologist, summarizes this concept into two approaches to determining outcomes: “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset.”
“A fixed mindset is the view that your abilities are either high or low, and there’s not much you can do to change them,” says Elliott-Moscow, “while a growth mindset is the view that your abilities are fixed or changeable.”
Although some people naturally lean one way or the other, not all people have a fixed or growth mindset for all problems – rather, approaching a challenge with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset is a choice anyone can make. .
However, for many, hard times often bring a stable mood. For example, says Elliott-Moscow, when a person receives criticism from a boss or struggles to complete a new task, he may feel a sense of inadequacy. In these situations, she says, the standard mindset reaction is “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this.”
Conversely, the growth mindset approach approaches the same situation in a different way. People with a growth mindset do not interpret these times as personal failures, but instead recognize the need for improvement.
It is important to note that people who work with a growth mindset believe that they can improve and break down challenges into achievable steps.
This means stepping out of your comfort zone and accepting some level of risk, uncertainty, and the possibility of failure that comes with trying something new.
“You feel a little uncomfortable and a little excited,” says London-based mood coach Isabella Venour.
“You run the risk of it going wrong, but you can learn something and grow as an individual.”
Why is a growth mindset important in the workplace right now?
A can-do attitude is always a plus in the workplace – it demonstrates that workers are adaptable and willing to grow within their work and their company’s environment.
But cultivating a growth mindset plays a key role in helping workers navigate turbulence and improving their resilience as they feel more confident and capable of taking on challenges.
This is necessary at a time when many employees are struggling for their well-being following the pandemic. Gallup’s 2022 State of the Workforce report shows that stress among workers around the world has risen steadily since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
A similar global survey conducted by the Wellbeing Project found that in 2022, resilience is very low and the risk of burnout is high, especially among non-executives.
“People are pulled in all directions as the pressures of work and life spill over into each other,” says Ms Venur. “Business leaders notice that their employees struggle to cope with everyday challenges.”
A growth mindset provides a framework for dealing with challenges, but also a way to break those challenges down into manageable steps. “Often, when we feel stressed when we’re not in a growth mindset, we tend to focus on what we can’t control,” Venor says.
“It’s more useful to focus on what we can affect.” It starts with workers identifying individual strengths they can use and then developing a plan to improve areas of weakness.
Taking a hands-on approach helps avoid becoming overwhelmed and setting boundaries that many remote workers struggle with.
For example, “If your boss gives you a task that seems unrealistic, it’s easy to say you’re not sure about the time or need an extra meeting to figure it out,” says Ms. Venur.
“Because you’re confident in your abilities, don’t look at your weaknesses as reasons for guilt. You can tell, I need support here.”
[Un état d’esprit de croissance] Encourages people to focus on feedback rather than failure – Isabella Venour
It is possible to practice a growth mindset individually, but if an organization encourages all of its employees to adopt a growth mindset, the results will be even more powerful.
“It encourages people to focus on feedback rather than failure,” says Venur. It can help motivate employees to tackle challenging projects and create a culture of integrated learning.
Research shows that this is what workers love most: In a 2022 McKinsey & Company survey, 41% of workers said the number one reason they quit their job was a lack of career growth and advancement.
The first step to promoting a growth mindset is self-awareness: the ability to recognize a fixed mindset when it occurs, which often manifests as feelings of discomfort or inadequacy when faced with a challenge.
First, instead of blaming yourself, Elliott-Moscow advises acknowledging and accepting these feelings. “Make a conscious choice to take action on what you will do if you have a growth mindset that is confident that you can improve your skills,” she explains.
To help clients approach obstacles with a growth mindset, Ms. Venor often breaks challenges into smaller pieces. For example, if a worker feels unable to give a presentation in front of colleagues, ask, “How much is emotion and how much is reality?” he asks.
Can they talk? [quelle est] An area they’re not comfortable with?”
Reducing the overwhelming challenge to a specific difficulty helps workers focus and reduces the required learning elements to an achievable level.
Often the learner himself needs to ask for help. One of the key concepts of the growth mindset is seeing others as inspiration rather than competition, an approach that helps foster collaborative teams.
“If workers see others as resources and not as competitors, they are more open to sharing the skills and abilities of others and learning from their colleagues,” says Elliott-Moscow.
Over time, recognizing a fixed mindset and practicing a growth mindset will become easier, and the prospect of meeting challenges will become less daunting. “A growth mindset is an empowering approach,” Venur says. “You can really grow and develop as a person over time.”