Mindsets in the Workplace

The other day via one of my newsletter subscriptions, I came across this article (Carol Dweck on Creating a Growth Mindset in the Workplace) that surveys a book from 2007 - Mindest: The New Psychology of Success. I thought it had some really interesting points - to the point that I decided to jump in and order Mindset from Amazon (should be here in a few more days). The idea behind Mindset is that different mindsets impact not only how we do our jobs, but the mindsets of our employees can impact the ultimate success of an organization.

Much of the article is spent looking at what most would recognize and consider as a "bad" mindset to have - the fixed-mindset. This is defined as a mindset that sees some people as superior and some people as inferior. One of the negative results of this mindset is that these people are always focused on what is in it for them even at the expense of an organization or other employees. They are driven by the need to not only be the "winner" in any situation but to make sure that everyone around them knows they are the "winner".

Besides creating big problems with employee morale, especially if the person with this fixed-mindset is a supervisor,  the fixed-mindset also causes problems with exploring creative solutions and dealing with challenges and obstacles. As noted in the article, fixed-mindset people tend to jump to treating suggestions as criticism and spend much of their time in an angry and defensive state of mind.

The alternative to a fixed-mindset is a growth-mindset, characterized by the following:

  • skills are learnable
  • an organization that values learning and perseverance (not just natural talent)
  • feedback that promotes learning and future success
  • managers as resources for learning

The article notes that Dweck's book is full of practical advice that can actually be used in organizations and the workplace. Hopefully that will pan out and I will pick up some tips and tricks to help me in my own work.


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