Created by Susanne Stock

#favouritemodel No.13 - Growth Mindset

How do people deal with setbacks? What causes some to continue seemingly unfazed afterwards, while others lose the courage to carry on?

Carol Dweck has addressed this question in her research. According to her theory, this is due to different mindsets. She distinguishes between the dynamic, growth-oriented mindset (Growth Mindset) and a fixed, rigid mindset (Fixed Mindset).

When people with a Fixed Mindset fail at a task, they attribute this to the fact that they seem to lack certain talents. They therefore tend to assume that their talents are innate and cannot be changed. It is then frequently possible to observe behavioral patterns by which people try to hide defeats and repeat negative beliefs more often.

People with a Growth Mindset believe that their talents are only the starting point. They assume that their core skills can be developed through engagement and learning. This makes them more open to learning opportunities, new impulses and feedback. They see mistakes as opportunities to learn something from them. They know their weaknesses, but are more open to working on them.

At first, this seems like a strong fixation. But Dweck's studies also show that our mindset can be developed and changed at any time through reflection and constructive interaction. A first step is to reflect on your mindset and practice focusing on positive experiences: What successes am I proud of? When did I learn or achieve something new through effort? Which people around me have perhaps had similar experiences to mine and have overcome their old thought patterns?

Also as a leader, your mindset determines whether you see opportunities for growth and whether you are more likely to perceive a person's strengths or weaknesses. You create a trusting and encouraging atmosphere by focusing on growth and resources.

Basic principles for fostering a growth mindset in your team are:

  • Believe that your team members can develop and improve their performance.
  • See mistakes as positive learning opportunities.
  • Notice good performance and consciously give positive feedback on it.

How does my #favouritemodel help you?

Reflect on your personal mindset and the mindset in your team with the following questions:

  • What personal development am I proud of?
  • What skills have I developed?
  • What challenge could I tackle in the near future to get out of my habitual behavior patterns?
  • What helps me celebrate successes? How can I perceive even small successes and first steps in a better, more appreciative way?
  • How can I deal with defeats more constructively? Who can support me in this? What can I learn from defeat?
  • What skills do my team members bring to the table? Which of these skills do they demonstrate at work?
  • What feedback would help my team members use their strengths even more?
  • How can we learn more constructively from mistakes together as a team and improve our culture of mistakes?


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