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  • Writer's pictureMike Bensi

How Leaders Lead with a Growth Mindset

I faced a major project failure early in my management career. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, I of course praised the team's effort and guided them on how to improve.

Of course I didn't.

I was upset. I thought the team should have known better. And I let them know it in a way that focused solely on the negative result and not the effort and process we had built along the way.

This experience taught me the power of growth mindset.

Fostering a growth mindset in a team can foster a culture of continuous improvement and resilience. This mindset encourages team members to view challenges as opportunities - which can lead to higher performance and adaptability to new and difficult situations. 

But leaders can easily fall into a fixed mindset (as I did) in small and easy ways. By unintentionally praising talent over effort. Or focusing on outcomes rather than the learning process. Or reacting negatively to mistakes. All of these small things can build up over time and discourage risk-taking or sharing new ideas.  

Your team does know better. They just need the space to be able to grow a growth mindset.  This happens best when leaders: 

Emphasize the process. Rather than just focusing on the results, be sure to recognize effort and progress. Give specific and actionable (and constructive) feedback to help team members improve and highlight the importance of learning. When hiring or promoting, prioritize potential for growth and adaptability over past achievements.  

Reframe failures as learning opportunities. Create a safe environment where mistakes are seen as steps forward. This mindset shift helps employees view challenges as opportunities to develop their skills and resilience.

Promote collaboration over competition. Foster a supportive team culture by encouraging knowledge sharing and teamwork. Investing in professional development opportunity also shows a genuine commitment to your team’s continuous improvement. 

Model these behaviors. Share your own learning experiences and openly admit mistakes, demonstrating that growth is for everyone - including leaders. This transparency builds trust and inspires your team to embrace their own growth paths.

By adding these strategies into your everyday actions, you'll grow the space for a growth mindset within the team. Leading with a growth mindset transforms challenges into opportunities for collective success, demonstrating that the journey of continuous improvement is the most important result.

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