As a business coach of over 25 years, I have helped thousands of company owners guide their key employees to greatness. We coach them on good hiring practices, how to overcome worry and procrastination, and the best way to get feedback from their team. But one of the most important skills we teach our clients has to do with creating a growth mindset culture.
What Is a Growth Mindset Culture?
A growth mindset culture stems from the company-wide belief that progress can be made over time by incremental growth and development as a team. By encouraging recognition of such growth and development, key team members are primed emotionally and mentally for further forward momentum.
Achieving A Growth Mindset Culture
One of the most powerful tools you have as a leader is to help your team recognize their growth and development from a 3rd party vantage point. Overachieving employees have a natural tendency to gloss over their victories in pursuit of perfection. This can be counter productive in the long run, so I would suggest keeping an employee notebook where you keep track of each of your direct reports victories and concrete progress so that you can help them feel their progress over time. When they feel their progress this reinforces their growth mindset, which in turns boosts their performance over time.
Give them feedback across three key time frames: long term, short term, and in the moment. Here's what it might sound like as you give feedback across each of these time frames.
"Tina, I wanted to commend you on a fantastic year! From my viewpoint, you have made amazing strides in the sales department and I wanted to take a few minutes to go over some of the highlights together. I know that when you are in the day to day grind of things, it can be difficult to see your progress, but I can see the growth. A year ago, you were consumed with putting out fires and making sales calls yourself. Now, you have an amazing sales staff in place and have been able to focus on improving the process and growing the business. Pause for a moment and let that sink in... do you see how far you've come because if you don't let it in Tina, you're not giving your team permission to let it in either..."
2. Short Term:
"Wait a second Eric, backup a moment. You almost got away with just shooting right past this! You just hit 23 sales this past week, and your last 3 weeks have all been sales over 18 each week. That's incredible Eric. A few months ago before you implemented the conversion changes we went through together you were at 12-15 each month, and now you're 40-60% higher. That's amazing... have you shared this with the rest of the team? How can we celebrate this victory together?"
3. In The Moment:
"Carol, hearing you say that really makes it clear to me what a smart woman you are. You're approach to handling that was spot on... way to go!"
Acknowledge The Process
Another way to encourage a growth mindset culture is to acknowledge the process and the struggle that comes with growth and development. This might sound like:
"Great work on drafting that new marketing piece Sam, I know that was hard to make the time to do that."
"Way to go Risa. That's a really big deal that you had that adult conversation with Rick about his recent slip in performance. I know that it took real courage to step up and talk with him directly about this."
A growth mindset is one that starts with you as a leader, and trickles down to every department. Stop to really feel your progress and growth and your team members will start to do the same.