Creating a Growth Mindset at Work: The How and Why


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Career development is a well talked about topic in today’s workforce and with new structures becoming more popular where there is less middle management separating employees from their bosses. Employees are having to adapt to these new workforces and upskill or reskill to advance in their careers. A big part of being able to adapt your skills is having a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset are individuals that believe that their success depends on time and effort. Which in terms means that having a growth mindset you understand the skills needed to be successful don’t get acquired over night, but they are continuously worked for and practiced. Why do you need a growth mindset to be successful some may ask- well, having a growth mindset can not only improve performance at work, but it can also increase productivity and engagement in all aspects of life.

In this article we discuss how to create a growth mindset in the workplace to develop your career.

1) Give and ask for feedback

Feedback is arguably the most important factor to developing yourself personally and professionally. A growth mindset as mentioned means you understand that developing takes time and effort, but without a crucial part which is feedback it can be challenging to know where you have room for improvement. Feedback that you need to receive can’t be sugar coated because that won’t be useful for your development. The type of feedback that is useful need to be effective feedback, therefore it needs to be constructive, objective, continuous, and relative. Once you receive feedback, you need to reflect and strategize your next steps. Documentation of the feedback is critical so that both managers and employees can go back and see if there has been any improvement in their performance. This can easily be implemented through a continuous feedback software which can enable meaningful feedback that develops your people.

2) Embrace failure

Often failure is seen as a negative, but it should be viewed as an opportunity to continuously keep improving your skills. A big part of having a growth mindset is realizing that it takes time to be able to improve, therefore failing shouldn’t be viewed as a setback but just more time to get things done correctly. Not many companies have found success right from the get-go and not many leaders in the world have peaked right from the beginning. For example, Walt Disney, one of the most successful creators in the world was fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough” before we started Disney. These people who have failed had to pivoted their strategies so that they can continue to improve and be more successful on the next round. Once employees change their mindset around failure to be seen as an opportunity, they will find themselves saving a lot more of their energy to progress. Furthermore, once managers understand that there will be times that employees may fail, they can collaborate with them on solutions to improve their performance and the overall performance of the organization.

3) Set individual goals

Employees have certain expectations that they need to be able to withhold in their organization. Depending on the role you are in it can vary from selling a certain amount of a products or getting the budget done at a certain point in the year. Fulfilling these workplace expectations are extremely important to be successful within a job but they are not going to create a growth mindset. When creating a growth mindset you should set individual goals, such as developing a new skill that will help you progress or advance in your career. These individuals’ goals are for your own personal professional development, and they may not even be discussed in the performance reviews that you have at the end of the year. These goals are meant to get you out of your comfort zone and to truly challenge yourself. Aim high but make them SMART goals. Therefore, they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely, to ensure that the goals you have set will be able to truly change behavior.

It is important to remember that growth or developmental goals is very different from a short-term goal. Therefore, think of the big picture. What do you want to accomplish in the upcoming year? Where do you see yourself 12 months from now? What is the biggest factor I need to improve on? These are all questions that can be turned into developmental goals. Short term goals fulfill those workplace expectations that I mentioned above.


Overall, it is up to employee to push themselves to create a growth mindset. While managers and organizations as a whole can encourage their employees to “push the limits”, it has to be a personal decision to want to improve your skills professionally. Ask for feedback, it can be from anyone, but make sure it is effective. Set those challenging goals for yourself and take little steps towards them daily if you want to see a change in your behavior.

Riley Steinbach
Riley Steinbach is the lead of marketing at Pavestep, a performance management software company. With a passion for helping companies with their performance management, she has written an array of pieces spanning from employee engagement, to why resiliency is critical.


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