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How to Encourage a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck’s fascinating model describes a growth vs. a fixed mindset and how to recognize the characteristics of each.

As a leader, you may be asking yourself: How can I inspire a growth mindset in my team? The key is to adopt a growth mindset yourself!

Two 360 degree reports I recently debriefed reveal the difference between the two mindsets.

Robin, a senior VP of Sales received the following feedback:

  • Thinks he’s the smartest person in the room (he’s not).
  • Tries to intimidate other people with his brilliance.
  • Takes credit for others’ work.
  • Blames others for mistakes.
  • Ignores constructive feedback.
  • Is a control freak.

Contrast this with Chris, a Director of Finance whose feedback included:

  • Seeks out ideas from even the least experienced people on the team.
  • Makes feedback a two-way process.
  • Shares his personal development plans.
  • Doesn’t punish us for “failures”; encourages us to explore what we learned from them.
  • Ensures we have robust development plans and provides the necessary resources.
  • Challenges group think.

When leaders use their position power to impress others, make decisions and deflect feedback vs. creating a culture of learning, growth and development, employees focus on avoiding criticism, instead of being creative and innovative.

What leaders do you know that are primarily focused on power and reaffirming their status? Who in your organization treats employees as collaborators and as members of the same team? Who you do want to emulate?

Share your comments with me at:

(905) 990-2515



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