How to Recognize Two Different Mindsets

In my last blog, I explored Carol Dweck’s brilliant work about how mindset contributes to success, including 5 strategies for how to adopt a growth mindset. Your response was overwhelming. An intriguing question emerged: “As a leader, how can I recognize a growth vs. a fixed mindset among my employees?”

Here’s a recent coaching experience I had that will help you make the distinction.

I recently met two leaders individually to debrief the results of their 360-degree feedback. Both reports contained considerable negative feedback. Not surprisingly, both leaders evaluated themselves significantly higher than their respondents on all 16 leadership competencies.

When I asked, “What’s your reaction to these results?”, they responded:


“I’m not thrilled with the results, but I appreciate this opportunity.”

“I need to work hard to improve my leadership skills.”

“Looks like I’ve got three main deficiencies. How do I address these?”

“I can improve my listening skills by practicing both at work and at home.”


“They really threw me under the bus. This makes me feel like a loser.”

“I inherited a team that disliked their last boss. It’s obvious that they don’t trust anyone in management.”

“I always thought I was a born leader.”

“This is the same feedback I’ve had for the past 10 years.”

Faced with criticism, Ayla showed resiliency, embraced the criticism and demonstrated a desire to learn.

Barrett, on the other hand, resisted the negative feedback, blamed others, believed his skills and abilities were innate and rejected previous criticism.

Recognize any of your employees in these scenarios?

Stay tuned for my next blog in how to create a growth mindset in your team.

In the meantime, send me your questions and comments:

Joan Hill
(905) 990-2515