How is ‘Mindset’ Cultured in the Workplace?

June 5, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-peopledevelopment-growthmindset

Organisational culture is designed to develop a consistent set of values and principles across a group of individuals. If channelled successfully, the team will be aligned and recognise the beneficial outcomes of those values. 

The creation of culture and how it is communicated usually comes from leadership, taking into consideration the overarching strategy and the objectives that the business is driven to accomplish.  

The challenging part here is trying to encourage and nurture a group way of thinking among individuals with different attitudes and perspectives. 

Just as with an individual’s thought patterns, a group-wide mindset is underpinned by ethics and organisational beliefs. If the meaning and importance of the values are not effectively communicated, or if people are acting out of accordance with such standards, then it can be much harder to engage the team. 

What drives the quality of workplace mindset? 

Adopting the right mindset enables us to approach tasks, routines, and goals with an open mind and a positive outlook. It shapes the way people consciously think, behave, and act and also impacts their ability to think respond quickly, tackle challenges, make decisions, and move forward. 

It is common to assess the mindset of a business using the terms ‘growth’ versus ‘fixed’, a concept invented by Carol Dweck in the mid-2000s, based upon research she had been gradually establishing since as early as the 1970s. Dweck believes that we have been trained (as children) to be “slaves to praise” which hinders our ability to take on challenges, stress, and potentially fall i.e. be seen to fail, yet subsequently, and perhaps most importantly, to learn. 

Put simply, a ‘growth mindset’ in an organisation is heavily learning-centric. Those who possess a growth mindset view challenges as opportunities, are open-minded, and are not opposed to change. Fixed minds believe that knowledge is less likely to continue to grow. They may see change as unnecessary, avoid conflict, and view feedback as unwarranted criticism.    

For employees to develop a growth mindset, they need to have the platform to develop it and see proof that such learning opportunities exist for them through developing their capabilities.  

As discussed previously, leadership sets the tone of a business, its culture, and its beliefs. Defining a set of commitments, principles, and behaviour to drive such thinking is a must, although it’s not enough on its own.  

So, what more can be done to support a ‘growth mindset’? 

The bigger a business, the more structure we have in place. In addition, companies often become (and understandably so) less risk-averse. Yet to develop individuals, we must allow room for progress in what is fundamentally achieved, as well as for their personal growth. Not only does this provide individuals with motivation and job satisfaction, but it also serves to support team effort and comradery.  

Here are five ways to incorporate and adapt for growth thinking: 

Encourage an entrepreneurial spirit: Ensure a level of autonomy and trust in what team members are responsible for. Foster new ideas and innovative discussion. Inspire with new growth opportunities even at the most-entry level.  

Make failure an acceptable practice: This doesn’t make it a regular or desired result, yet it should be seen as a possibility when taking risks. Considering a ‘fail fast’ motto ensures an open-minded approach and a guaranteed learning outcome. 

Focus on the journey, not on the destination: Continual assessment of how team members work together and what best practices have been witnessed provide ongoing observations that often tell us more than the eventual outcome.  

Be open to change: Business will also bring about challenges and learning to face and overcome such encounters offers opportunities to learn, drives resilience, and improves mental well-being. 

Coaching and mentorship for leaders and managers: Those who lead with growth thinking are most likely to foster innovation and creativity within their teams, resulting in a well-performing, highly satisfied, more motivated, and genuinely excited workforce. Third-party support can help senior figures to develop these skills. 

Carina Harvey

CIPD Chartered Professional and Personal Identity Coach

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