Get a Growth Mindset and Enhance Your Leadership Skills

What I learned from Carol Dweck

Wendy Scott


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck talks about the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. In simple terms, someone with a growth mindset believes they can learn anything with practice and determination. Through hard work, progress will be made. Failure is part of learning. There is no shame in working hard.

In contrast, if someone has a fixed mindset, they believe that success in anything is dependent on talent. That talent is fixed for life and does not require any effort or practice. Needing to work hard at a task is shameful.

Intelligence, sporting ability, musical ability, people skills, practical skills, math, languages, and anything else you can imagine is governed, by either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

So how does this apply to leadership?

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“Studies by Peter Heslin, Don VandeWalle, and Gary Latham show that many managers do not believe in personal change. These fixed-mindset managers simply look for existing talent — they judge employees as competent or incompetent at the start and that’s that.”

Carol Dweck — Mindset: The new psychology of success

Dweck goes on to say that these managers spend very little energy on training or developing their teams. If a team member does improve the manager fails to notice or dismisses the change.

Managers with a growth mindset notice talent but also place a great deal of importance on coaching, developing their teams, and encouraging progress.

Dweck’s findings imply that unless leaders have a growth mindset, they will be unable to apply what they have learned from leadership training or effectively use tools such as performance appraisals and one-to-ones. Given the investment in time and money…



Wendy Scott

L&D professional writing practical, step-by-step leadership and training & development articles to help leaders, managers & trainers grow their careers.