Last updated: 08.09.20

How a growth mindset can help motivate your team

We have covered numerous aspects of managing remote teams, and they are all interlinked. Ultimately, if you want to help your team – any team – you need to make sure you develop team culture. Everything else feeds into that – team building, performance management, empowerment, and, as we will explore in this article, motivation.

What motivation is and why it’s important

Motivation is our drive to do or achieve something and it is driven by many different factors. These factors can be broken down into two broad groups: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are driven by the person, and are connected to an internal reason, whether that is writing a story purely for the enjoyment of it or meditating to relieve stress. Extrinsic factors, on the other hand, are external to the person: writing a story for work or meditating because a friend has asked you to join their meditation class.

They can work together though and are often interlinked. Using those two examples again, both the factors can be present. You may have to write for work, but you may also enjoy it. Your friend may have asked you to join their meditation class, but you’re looking forward to it because you know it may help with stress.

In a work context, it’s important to understand the motivations your team or employees may have, as their motivation feeds into the success of your team.

The manager’s role in motivating

So, what can you do as a manager?

The manager plays an important role in motivating. A manager can be a positive force and influence, helping to create and encourage a positive working environment which will help motivate their team. 

As we explained above, intrinsic and extrinsic factors often work in tandem, and a manager can help create a balance between these two. Examples of motivation which a manager can provide include praise, encouragement, awards, collaboration, a show of interest and trust, setting goals and making sure the staff have the time and resources. These can all help feed into their teams’ intrinsic factors.

One significant area in which the manager can help to motivate is to encourage self-development, which will demonstrate an investment in their wellbeing and development. People usually want to develop, especially if it helps them at their job, and a show of interest from their manager provides that extra motivation.

When it comes to self-development, a growth mindset can be an important tool. Learning can be hard, and a growth mindset can help overcome the fear of that difficulty, or encourage us to avoid the path of least resistance, a path which won’t help us to develop and further ourselves.

What is growth mindset and how can it help motivation?

Growth mindset is the belief that we aren’t fixed and we can change, especially when it comes to learning and developing. It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset. It’s allowing ourselves to fail, to try new things even if we’re not sure they will work, and to learn from our mistakes. It’s allowing ourselves to think outside the box, to be uncomfortable and to step out into our discomfort zone. It taps into our curiosity as well and changes how we view or perceive learning. It may suddenly become exciting instead of daunting (or at least exciting despite it being daunting).

If this new mindset is embraced, it will encourage us and motivate us to really push ourselves and improve and build on our knowledge and skills.

There are different ways to develop a growth mindset in your team, but regularly demonstrating it will be a highly effective and will help embed it in the team culture. This is important as the concept may not be taken seriously otherwise. Here are some ways you can demonstrate it:

  • Discuss new ways of working which you have tried, discovered, or want to try
  • Be honest and open. Admit when you have failed or struggled and how you overcame it (if you managed to) and talk about what you learnt from it.
  • Make learning part of the team culture; for example, encourage the 5 hour rule
  • Stress that it isn’t about performance, it’s about discovering potential

Of course, a growth mindset isn’t the only motivator – but it is one that often goes under the radar.  If you would like more hints, tips and insights into how to manage remote teams, why not look into our suite of courses that covers this very topic?