In our webinar with Women and Manufacturing (WiM), we explored the concept of how an employee can advance their career as part of organizational growth initiatives or innovation investment. Our three panelists shared their career journeys and how they took on projects both inside and outside of their companies to develop new skill sets or build expertise. The Center for Creative Leadership's research studies on executive growth and development confirmed that experience is the best teacher. In these studies, they found that various leadership challenges contribute to a managers' becoming experienced. But learning was not automatic. It was possible to have the knowledge but miss the meaning.
What Does Having a Growth Mindset Mean?
Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author, sums up her research findings as individuals who have a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed. This skills development happens through hard work, good strategies, and input from others. In comparison, those who have a fixed mindset believe their talents are innate gifts. Those with a growth mindset tend to be higher achievers than those with a fixed mindset. Her research also concludes that a "pure" growth mindset doesn't exist. We have a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, and this evolves as we gain experiences.
How Do You Inspire a Growth Mindset as a Leader?
It isn't easy to attain a growth mindset in organizations because we all have fixed mindset triggers. To encourage growth-mindset behaviors, it is essential to create psychological safety in your business. Transparency, sharing knowledge, teaming, feedback, celebrating failures are all base behaviors that lead to free-thinking and collaboration. These behaviors are counter-intuitive to the experiences that have shaped us in our education and business systems. I don't recall any celebrating when I was failing algebra in college. When we face challenges or receive criticism, we need to fight back the urge to become defensive and embrace the learning opportunity. Providing our workforce with both skill-building opportunities and emotional intelligence practices will build confidence and the coping framework that encourages growth.