Growth Mindset: What It Is and Why It Makes Better Leaders

3 min read
Oct 7, 2016

leadership qualitiesWhen things don’t turn out your way — let’s say you turned in what you thought was an awesome assignment only to be told it was terrible — do you feel like a failure? Or do you take those kinds of opportunities as learning experiences?

Over the course of her career, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck has argued that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have fixed mindsets and those who have growth mindsets.

Those in the former group believe that everyone is born with a certain amount of talents and skills, and as such, their level of achievement is finite. Those in the latter group, on the other hand, believe that the world is infinite and people are able to continually improve their skill sets if they work on it. defines mindset as “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.” Essentially, your mindset dictates your behavior.

Great leaders are governed by growth mindsets. They understand that they can continue improving and help those around them do the same.

So how exactly does a growth mindset make you a more effective leader? With a growth mindset:


01. You can see the good in every situation

Even when you fail — and you’re human, so you’ll fail from time to time — you won’t be defeated. Instead of giving up and going home, you’ll begin to look at every situation as a learning experience. When you fail, you’ll figure out what went wrong and work on making sure it doesn’t happen next time. The Beginner's Guide to Great Leadership


02. You can constantly acquire new skills

Those governed by fixed mindsets believe that they’re born with certain talents and that’s all there is to it. With a growth mindset, you’re constantly learning new things and developing new skills. Regardless of whether those skills relate to learning new technologies, figuring out how to manage people better, or mastering a new foreign language, you’ll become a more complete person.


03. You can build stronger relationships

Since you’ll understand that failure is a routine part of life, you’ll look at everyone else’s struggles as learning experiences and opportunities for growth. You’ll be more patient and more understanding — which should help you form tighter bonds with your employees.


04. You can stop worrying about being perfect

A lot of people stress over getting everything done just right. As a result, they waste a ton of time polishing things that quite frankly may not need to be polished in the first place. Leaders with growth mindsets understand that they are fallible people. You’ll always want to do your best job possible, but you won’t be governed by stress.

Growth mindset


05. You can build a better company

A growth mindset enables you to understand that your organization is always a work in progress — and one that can be improved continually. Just like you learn new talents on your own, your company is capable of growing and taking on new things. Leaders governed by growth mindsets are constantly devising ways to take their companies to the next level.

You have complete control over your mindset. So if you’ve got a fixed mindset, all hope is not lost. Change your way of thinking, and you can successfully adopt a growth mindset. As a result, you’ll be able to strengthen your leadership qualities — a benefit to your company, your employees, and your customers.



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