How do you stimulate a growth mindset on the shop floor?

Change is the only constant. If you want to remain competitive in this rapidly changing world, you need employees who can change along with you. “Companies where employees stand still, start chasing the facts. That is why it is so important to pay sufficient attention to the mindset of your employees,” says neuroscientist Marcia Goddard. It is therefore important to stimulate the growth mindset of your employees. You can read how to do that in this blog.

Growth mindset, what is it?

“People with a growth mindset believe that they can develop themselves. If you do your best and practice, you get better. Because of this, they are not afraid to try something new. They accept the risk of mistakes; they understand that you learn new things,” says Dr. Goddard. The counterpart of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, people believe that intelligence, capacities and talents are fixed. From this perspective, there is little point in persevering if something does not work out anyway.

According to Dr. Goddard, mindset is more important than intelligence. “Intelligence is a nice basis, but you have to use your intellect to develop yourself. And you learn the most from mistakes, so you have to be prepared to make them. Company culture plays an important role in this. In a company where intelligence is seen as the highest good, people will do their best to look as smart as possible. Making mistakes doesn’t fit in with that.”

Someone has made a mistake

Mistakes everyone, but what do you have to do and what don’t you have to do? What you should not do is punish the mistake, for example by never entrusting that person with such a task again. What do you have to do? Making the mistake discussable. Ask what someone has learned from it and what he or she will do differently next time. You can read more about this in the YoungCapital Recruitment Guide.

The team meeting

What shouldn’t you do at the team meeting? To publicly hold someone who has made a mistake to account in a negative way. What should you do? Celebrating the ‘mistake of the week’ together. Put the mistake and the learning point in the spotlight, not the one who made it.

If someone on the team has achieved a special success, it is not advisable to put that one person in the spotlight in public. What is advisable is to celebrate the success of the whole team.

Making mistakes is allowed

Few people have become successful without making mistakes. Even Messi sometimes misses a penalty, but a week later he gets back behind the ball. Do you have to turn a blind eye to everything? “Of course not”, says Goddard. “Hold your people accountable for their mistakes, but make sure you’re not too critical or punitive. Rather, ask what your colleague has learned. Offer your people sufficient safety at work, but also challenge and trust. Give them a new project. Don’t think: he’s never done it before, so he can’t do it, but: he’s never done it before, so I have to prepare him well and be available for questions.”

As a manager, it is necessary to create a corporate culture in which colleagues can make mistakes. In this way, you encourage colleagues to use their growth mindset. A small investment in the culture can pay dividends. Employees in companies where the growth mindset predominates are happier, perform better and can cooperate better.



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