5 Tips for Developing a Growth Mindset
by Sam Greensitt, Global Head of Partnerships
In the days following COP26, I can't help but observe an overwhelming amount of commentary around the role that businesses have to play in changing the fate of our planet. Despite their commitment to change, few people seem to be asking whether their people actually have the skills required to do so. Not the technical skills, that's an entirely different debate. But what about the soft skills? What's needed from today's leaders, and how're we building tomorrow's?
At Acre Frameworks, working in the learning and development space, we understand better than most that businesses don't create change; people do. So, when it comes to building resilience in the business world, our conversations are increasingly shifting towards the need for a growth mindset when adapting to change.
Resilience is often thought of as the ability to recover from setbacks, but I’d argue that it has far more to do with the ability to cope in the face of adversity. Resilience is a critical feature of a growth mindset and the good news is that it’s not a personality trait that you either do or don’t have. It’s something you can develop, grow and strengthen through practice and intent.
So, when things get tough, how can leaders build a culture that reinforces resilience and promotes long-term personal and organisational success? The answer: by harnessing the power of a growth mindset, and I’m here to start you off with 5 useful tips for doing so.
1. Re-frame ‘failures’ as an opportunity to learn.
The way society teaches us to think about our failures has a significant impact on our ability to bounce back when things go wrong. By framing failures as a learning opportunity, we reduce the negative impact on our motivation and self-confidence.
Now, more than ever, we’ll feel more driven to try something new or to do something differently if we can give ourselves a permission slip to get it wrong on the first try. Or the second. Or even the third. We’ll also feel more positive about our ability to tackle the next obstacle we face, and about what we can learn from that one too.
2. Consider success to be a journey.
Success is a process that requires effort and perseverance. Accepting that it won’t happen overnight enables us to become more resilient and less discouraged by setbacks. As you let this reality settle in, consider the following:
- Make plans and follow through. Not only does this give you a sense of control, but it increases your chances of reaching your goals.
- Take care to manage expectations, both yours and others, to avoid emotions of dissatisfaction if the journey to success takes longer than planned.
3. Think about feedback as data.
Our resilience is often defined by how we respond to feedback. When you treat feedback like data, you’ll realise that how you interpret it will determine whether it feels good or bad. As human beings, when we receive feedback that isn’t positive, it can often feel like an attack on our competence or self-worth. Yet, with a growth mindset, suddenly the same comments can feel like a useful way to learn and improve. I know this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to separating growth points from feelings of personal assault. Consider embracing the 'Always Forward' method: identifying an area where we want to improve and proactively requesting feedback will help keep the focus on feedback as developmental rather than judgmental.
4. Create a psychologically safe environment.
Humility is the most important part of building resilience since it enables us to recognise when we need help and when we should ask for it.
When we’re humble, we can acknowledge that we have limitations and that it doesn’t make us any less human. It also allows us to accept new ideas and input from others. When we aren’t, we lose out on a chance for improved communication, collaboration and innovation.
The uncertain world that we find ourselves in at the moment is an excellent opportunity to seek advice from others; no one is expected to have the answers as we are all dealing with situations and levels of change that we have likely never encountered before.
5. Trust the people around you.
Resilient teams are built on trust and by allowing team members to freely share information and ideas, as well as being honest about mistakes, worries, and the need for assistance. Most importantly, however, they’re built on doing all of the above without fear of being judged or reprimanded.
Building trust in your team doesn’t have to be difficult. The following ideas can be implemented easily, and you’d be surprised at how transformative they can be:
1. When something goes wrong, avoid blaming and instead, concentrate on the lessons learned.
2. Model the behaviours you want others to emulate, such as admitting mistakes and not knowing everything.
3. Encourage everyone in the team to come up with new ideas and approaches.
4. Make it clear what your goal is and what your priorities are.
5. Provide and request feedback on a regular basis, rewarding effort rather than results.
The characteristics of a growth mindset and resilience are inextricably linked. Today’s leaders should be optimising both personal and commercial development by establishing resilient teams and fostering a growth mindset culture in their organisations.
Are you interested in gaining a deeper insight into your teams’ strengths and limiting behaviours?
Our 'Discovery' process does just that. We use our own bespoke competencies borne out of 5 years of research and designed specifically for purpose-driven professionals operating within, safety, wellbeing and sustainability.
If you want to learn more about how Acre Frameworks can help you and your team develop a growth mindset, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7400 5570.