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Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: What is the Difference?

fixed-vs-growth-mindsets-what-is-the-differenceSometimes the only thing holding you back as a leader is your lack of a growth mindset. 

Believe it or not, your years of experience, while a valuable asset, may also be the reason why your team isn’t innovating in ways that it could be. 

Think about it: Is there ever only one path to the top of a mountain?  

The reality is that the answer to this question is almost always an emphatic “no.” Research suggests doing a job the same way for your whole career may actually be a double-edged sword. While it has taken you far professionally, it also acts as a blinder if you’re not too careful, making it difficult to see alternative paths to the same goal. In the worlds of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here, won’t get you there.

Learning how to effectively lead your team is just as important as being competent at your other duties, and it starts with being open to new ways to get the assignment done as they present themselves. 

Recently Steve VerBurg, CEO of Dale Carnegie of Orange County, sat down with Forge to discuss the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. 

Read the original interview here.

Comparing Fixed Mindsets vs. Growth Mindsets

What is a Fixed Mindset?

People with a fixed mindset believe the effort is optional. They believe that talent alone leads to success. The warning signs of a fixed mindset often hide in plain sight. They’re usually rooted in a leader’s self-confidence. The idea that their way of doing things trumps any suggestions their employees may come up with to improve the process. As Steve put it, “it’s when leaders have the mindset that they have so much experience and knowledge that they’re always right… They shut down other people or innovative ideas because they feel like, ‘Hey, I’ve been here 20 years, I know what I’m doing.

This mentality can be toxic to the work environment, as it’s usually a precursor to stagnation. In a business climate that necessitates forward motion, fixed mindsets are the opposite of what you should be doing to get ahead.

The truth is, your organization’s next big idea could be just around the corner. It’s up to you as the leader to embrace that opportunity before putting out the spark before it has a chance to smolder.

What is a Growth Mindset?

A person who has a growth mindset believes they are in control of their own ability. They believe they can learn and improve. The growth mindset understands that taking some risks is part of the game. They nurture that flame! Giving it the oxygen it needs to develop into something bigger. Your drive to succeed should take precedence over your ego. Sadly, you lose sight of the bigger picture when you are set in your own ways. That’s why many executives are busier working to prevent failure than promoting growth. In Steve’s interview with Forge, he mentions how this can “start to create problems because they’re not open to the collaboration that they should be trying to achieve.”

It acknowledges that without trying something new, it’s impossible to improve the processes and systems you have in place. Leaders who adopt the growth mindset aren’t afraid to challenge themselves in the name of progress. The best part? It’s contagious. Setting the tone starts from the top down. Once you lead by example, your actions will quickly start to influence the rest of your team. 

Related article: 7 Tips to Help Executives to Develop a Growth Mindset

Learn More About Dale Carnegie and the Growth Mindset

As a business leader, you need to be able to hand off your responsibilities to the next generation. Do that successfully and you will leave a lasting mark on your organization. If you are interested in learning how to become a better leader, Dale Carnegie can help. 

Contact us today to learn more.

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