Have you ever come across a manager who didn’t feel he or she needed improvement?
Psychologist Carol Dweck of Stanford University has done research on mindset and how the mindset you choose significantly affects how you lead your life. Dweck’s extensive research has shown that a manager’s mindset can have a significant impact on your business as well. Dweck indentifies two mindsets:
Fixed mindset: intelligence is a fixed trait
Growth mindset: intelligence is a flexible quality; intelligence can be developed
Fixed mindset leaders believe looking smart is most important. They perceive effort as negative since they believe their intelligence is fixed and effort undermines their natural abilities. Growth mindset leaders believe learning is more important than looking smart. They perceive effort as positive since the more effort you exert, the more you can develop and grow. One study revealed the common characteristics of managers for both mindsets:
Fixed mindset managers:
- Do not admit and correct their deficiencies
- Do not notice improvement in their employees; first impressions last
- Don’t have an accurate view of themselves (they try to block negative information)
- Don’t mentor their employees as much
- Can’t take criticism
Growth mindset managers:
- Notice improvement and growth in their employees
- Provide better quality coaching and development
- Have an accurate view of themselves
- Mentor employees rather than judge them
- Understand a large part of their job is to nurture the skills and abilities of employees
The good news is that we can change our mindset. A group of managers who went through a “growth mindset workshop” showed more openness to feedback, a greater willingness to mentor employees, and openness to employee change after they completed the workshop.
Understanding mindset and how it affects a manager’s impact is an important consideration in developing current and future leaders.