Since researcher Carol Dweck introduced us to the concept of the growth mindset, a lot has been said about its role in achieving success for individuals. The same holds true for organizations. Resilient organizations strive to create a culture that encourages growth and learning. However, organizations are what they do and this is reflected in the habits of their leaders. A growth culture requires leaders that not only have growth mindsets but who create a culture of growth through their actions. Here are six habits of such leaders:
- Recognizes potential: Growth minded leaders do not see people as being fixed in their abilities. Instead they focus on strengths and potential skill areas to develop. They do not use performance evaluations just to highlight failures and weed out underperformers. Instead, they use them to create opportunities for both the individual and the organization to work toward a shared goal.
- Welcomes feedback: Growth minded leaders understand that critical feedback is a path to learning and improvement. They not only provide it but they welcome it from others. They encourage people to express dissenting opinions in a safe and productive environment.
- Encourages collaboration: Growth minded leaders understand the importance of social learning. Sharing ideas, successes and failures helps people to learn from each other. They present regular opportunities to work together cultivating the strengths of the whole team.
- Practices humility: Growth minded leaders model the act of sharing credit and acknowledging the contribution of others. Although there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition now and then, organizational success comes from the contributions of many. When people learn to celebrate rather than be threatened by the success of others, both the individual and the organization raise their potential for growth and success.
- Allows for mistakes: Growth minded leaders view setbacks as an opportunity for improvement. Instead of looking for someone to pin the blame on, they look to identify systemic problems that can be adjusted to ensure better outcomes.
- Invites innovation and risk taking: Growth minded leaders know that positive change occurs in an environment where hypotheses can be tested. People need permission to look past the “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality without negative kick-back.
What practices do you see in your organization that cultivate a culture of growth and learning? Do you recognize some leadership habits that discourage a growth mindset?