Why Your Mindset Matters at Work and Life

Pensive woman got the right mindset for business

“Your mindset plays a dramatic role in your success at work and in life.”

In season 24 episode 8, we give you some insight into why your mindset is so important in your work and life.

Are leaders born or made? I highlighted the research done by Leadership Quarterly in Building the Best which exposed leaders aren’t born but instead use a combination of genetics and development.  For many people, this is a major change in thinking, but it’s the only way to think if you are going to get better from a leadership perspective or for that matter, anything.

The development of leadership skills isn’t all about just reading a book or practicing the concepts within it over the rest of your career.  Instead, the most important factor if you want to improve is the brain and how you think. It could be summarized as having a growth mindset. The growth mindset theory was brought to prominence by Carol S. Dweck, a Stanford Psychology professor, and in simple terms, it suggests that “we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems.” 

Which poses the question, what’s the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset?

Fixed vs. growth mindset

The differences between a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset are stark. At the simplest form, a fixed mindset believes intelligence is static or something you are born with where a growth mindset believes it can be developed.

Mindset fuels company growth as well

In recent years the idea of a growth mindset has been credited with helping Satya Nadella turn around Microsoft. Starting in 2014 when Nadella became CEO, he encouraged the entire company to adopt a growth mindset. They have gone as far as evaluating employees’ performance-based partly on how much they help their colleagues succeed.

While Microsoft is on the cutting edge of using mindset to fuel growth, they aren’t alone. They are a working case study to help other companies adopt a similar approach to compete in today’s business world.

How you can adopt a growth mindset

If you’re ready to adopt a growth mindset for yourself or to pass onto your people, wrap your heart and mind that your mind is never a finished product.  Not only will you deal with failure more effectively but you will be growing in a positive way every day rather than being in neutral or going backward.

We are all born with unique DNA. I started with a different makeup than you did.  It might be easier for me to handle pressure than it is for you because of my DNA. But you can still learn how to handle pressure effectively. You might have been born with better leadership DNA than I did but I can still learn how to be a more effective leader.

Unfortunately, the majority of professionals fall into the category of having a fixed mindset over a growth mindset.  They fall into the trap of believing that talent wins every time and they were either born with the ability to get the job done or they aren’t.  

If you find yourself in this position, focus on a pattern of what behavior when growth happens; it’s what I call AOL, an acronym that stands for action, outcome, learning. 


Take action about things you believe you can’t do. Once you take action there will be an outcome as a result and regardless of the result being positive or negative, you get the opportunity to learn from it. this will allow you grow and get better the next time you take the action.

Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? What have you done to successfully make the leap?

Join the Next Ultimate Leadership Academy If you are ready to elevate the way you lead, join the next virtual Ultimate Leadership Academy.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.  

4 Ways Great Leaders Instill a Growth Mindset in Others

Whether in business, athletics or any other field, achieving success doesn’t come from natural ability and intelligence alone. It comes from having a growth mindset.

Growth-minded individuals are constantly looking for ways to get a little better than they were yesterday. They aren’t afraid to take risks or put in the extra effort to become better and achieve their desired results. For successful business leaders, a growth mindset often comes naturally, with attributes like persistence, diligence and the belief that you can always find ways to improve providing a powerful drive.

But for a company to succeed, leaders need to instill this growth mindset in their employees as well. Inspiring others isn’t always easy, particularly if your employees believe that their talent level and output are fixed. However, it is far from impossible.

1. Don’t worry about your own status.

Even if you think of yourself as a growth-minded individual, you could still accidentally be creating a fixed-mindset workplace because of the way you treat others.

Author Carol Dweck writes that managers should ask themselves some key questions about how they lead: “How do you act toward others in your workplace? Are you a fixed-mindset boss, focused on your power more than on your employees’ well-being? Do you ever reaffirm your status by demeaning others? Do you ever try to hold back high-performing employees because they threaten you?”

The goal of a growth mindset is to help everyone learn and achieve more together. You shouldn’t be trying to hog all the learning and praise to yourself. Make sure that you are a learning resource and coach, rather than an authoritarian boss obsessed with maintaining a strong image.

2. Instill and promote courage. 

Psychologist Abraham Maslow famously said, “Every day we can step into growth with courage or retreat into safety.” The key word here is courage. Without people being willing to step out and do something when they are scared, it’s almost impossible to have a growth mindset. Turns out that’s something you help people develop.

Dr. Will Sparks, author of Actualized Leadership, came on the Follow My Lead Podcast and said, “It’s the person’s responsibility of whether or not they will take growth steps. You can’t claim the outcome, but you can coach and encourage them.”

Helping your employees have courage isn’t easy but using empathy to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are on their journey is the first step. Once you use empathy, do your best to help them see the cost of not being courageous.

3. Promote personal growth.

If you truly have your employees’ best interests at heart, you won’t merely be focused on driving company growth. You will actively encourage your team members to seek learning on their own and get a little bit better each day. John Wooden famously said, “You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By becoming a little better each and every day, over a period of time, you will become a lot better.” A great way to do this is by setting goals.

“Strong goals should always promote a growth mindset,” David Trainavicius, founder and CEO of PVcase explained in a recent email conversation. “You should encourage team members to set their own personal goals in addition to the goals you have as a department or company. Encouraging employees to commit to their own personal growth and giving them opportunities to develop these skills will pay big dividends later on.”

Indeed, Trainavicius’s efforts at establishing a growth mindset have helped his company achieve astounding results in a globally competitive field. To date, thanks to his employees’ efforts, over 100 PV engineers use the company’s software in Europe, Australia and the United States.

An employee’s personal growth will allow them to develop new skills that can lead to improved outcomes for your company, as exemplified above. In my company LearnLoft, I encouraged team members to start their own podcast to cover important topics around organizational health. Through this exercise, it had them investing in their own personal growth in order to host the show.  

4. Hire from within your organization.

You need to prove to your employees that your efforts to promote a growth mindset are more than just lip service. A 2018 workforce activity study by Global Talent Monitor found that 40 percent of employees who left their job cited a “lack of future career development” as a primary motivator for quitting.

Executives must consider how their actions — especially hiring practices — reflect on their commitment to career development and a growth mindset. When new positions open up, consider hiring from within.

Helping your employees adopt a growth mindset isn’t always easy. But doing so could make all the difference for the long-term output of your team. As you help others within your organization adopt this mindset, they will be better positioned to provide meaningful contributions to your company.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.