Last updated: 03.06.24

How to Develop a Growth Mindset at Work


A growth mindset can be a challenging topic for businesses. Overall, it seems to go against all of our instincts for building a successful organisation, as it encourages embracing failures and taking risks, and doesn’t seem to encourage measuring success in quantifiable ways.

But if a business wants to improve the company culture, change negative mindsets, improve employee interactions and attitudes, build loyalty, promote creativity and encourage teamwork and trust, then embracing a growth mindset could be the way to go. Ultimately, if you want to help yourself and your team, you need to make sure you develop a team culture, which a growth mindset is an important part of. 

Many things feed into developing a growth mindset and improving culture and attitudes at work – team building, performance management, empowerment and motivation. In this article, we’re going to explain what a growth mindset is, discuss some of the benefits of growth mindsets at work and then explore how to encourage a growth mindset amongst employees.

What is a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset is a frame of mind that believes your abilities can and will improve through practice. It doesn’t believe talent is everything and instead believes that we are all capable of expanding, learning and growing.

People with growth mindsets don’t shy away from failure – they learn from it. As with criticism, even though it may be excruciating to hear, they embrace and welcome challenges, seeing them as a way of stretching and developing themselves. 

Developing a growth mindset means 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.

Utilising a growth mindset involves embracing grey thinking and taking risks that might not feel like your usual behaviour. At work, people with a growth mindset are risk-takers and opportunity-makers who see obstacles as a chance to experiment or problems that can be solved.

Within the business world, a growth mindset way of thinking is still in its infancy. But it’s quickly gaining fans and converts, as many people have realised that a company’s adopted mindset will have a big impact on how both the company and the employees within it will function.

What is the Difference Between a Fixed and Growth Mindset?

When people talk about how to encourage a growth mindset, they also often talk about the opposite phenomenon.

A fixed mindset is a way of thinking that believes you are stuck with only innate skills and that you cannot learn or improve, viewing challenges and failures as reasons to give up or evidence that you aren’t successful. It considers failure as permanent and feedback as a personal attack on who we are. 

A fixed mindset would lead us to choose the easier tasks and put in the minimal amount of effort because why bother trying? We can’t change.

Fixed and growth mindsets work on a continuum: we aren’t either one or the other. In fact, we are likely to move between them depending on what we’re faced with. 

But it is important to know that there are two options, as that provides you (or a team member) with a choice. For example, ‘Am I going to see this as a failure and take my bat home?’ (a common default response), or ‘shall I see this as something I can learn from?’. Once we recognise there is a choice, we can consciously make a decision about how to act.

Think about you and your team: Is there anyone who can’t take criticism? Does anyone believe they either ‘have it’ or don’t when it comes to talent and ability? Are there team members who get defensive and want to give up when someone points out their mistakes? Do they fear failure? Do they believe they must have all the answers, and can’t show any weaknesses whatsoever in the workplace?

What we’ve just described is classed as a ‘fixed mindset’.

The Limitations of a Fixed Mindset

Unfortunately, a fixed mindset can be especially prevalent in our work lives. It can be at a personal level, going back to what we are good at and what we’re bad at. But it can also be at an organisation level: managers and leaders projecting a belief about what others are good at, and what others are bad at.

A fixed mindset may result in a rigid view of where everyone fits into an organisation and what their role is. As a result, change or development is not encouraged.

Without encouraging a growth mindset at work, employees end up encouraged to play it safe and avoid taking creative risks, as, in companies where there is a predominantly fixed mindset, success is only measurable, and any mistakes are considered failures. This can create a restrictive, inflexible working environment.

The Benefits of a Growth Mindset at Work

Before we dive into how to cultivate a growth mindset, we wanted to touch upon some of the benefits of encouraging this at work. Below are just a few examples, but overall, your company will increase in terms of motivation and productivity. And who doesn’t want that?

Increased Motivation

Motivation is our drive to do or achieve something and it is driven by many different factors. 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.

Managers play 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. 

One significant area in which the manager can help to motivate is to encourage self-development, which will demonstrate an investment in employee 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.

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

Improved Collaboration

A growth mindset accepts that both everyone is capable, and, simultaneously, that no one person has all the answers. This can feel at odds in a company where it is often believed that the boss, or manager, or someone of status has all the answers.

The benefit of adopting a culture of growth mindset is that managers and senior staff are free to admit that they don’t have all the answers and that others in the company might. This will create a wonderful team environment where you are all working toward the same goal and in which everyone can contribute when their skills are required, regardless of their job title and experience.

Skill Development

Leading on from that last point, another of the benefits of growth mindsets at work is that it can lead to hidden talents and capabilities being unearthed. It will allow people to push themselves – maybe there is a skill they want to learn or develop but never thought they could? 

A growth mindset would allow doubt to stop learning a new skill from happening, and you’d see your company benefiting from these discoveries. You could also recruit from within, which would in turn build loyalty and employee engagement.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset in the Workplace

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

Whether you’re a manager trying to positively influence a team or an individual who wants to learn how to have a growth mindset, here are several useful approaches to developing a growth mindset that you can try.

Understand the Effort Required 

‘Growth mindset’ has become quite a ‘buzz phrase’ in the business world, which means that it can feel easy to decide to achieve it. However, a growth mindset is an inherent belief about one’s own abilities and will challenge well-established beliefs, attitudes and habits. It’s not something that can be gained through simply educating yourself; it takes time, commitment and repeated effort to change thought patterns and behaviour.

Utilise Learning and Development Resources

Many businesses ask their employees to complete traditional face-to-face training or e-learning. But as there is rarely much follow-up or opportunities to try out the new knowledge or skill, it is never fully embedded.

If you’re wondering how to help employees gain and implement a growth mindset in the workplace, a really impactful approach is to make the most of all your learning and development resources and ensure that these are aligned with a growth mindset attitude. Employees should be given specific growth mindset training, but also have plenty of opportunities to try new things, take risks and tackle challenges through other development exercises and schemes.

Adapt Your Language

You have to use words carefully, as words and language are important to changing mindsets. For example, considering the way you give feedback and evaluation is a great space to start changing people’s thought processes and developing a growth mindset at work. 

Research has found that if you praise the effort someone has put into their work, then they will tend to work harder. But if they are praised for being smart or intelligent, then they tend to stop. This must be reflected in training as well, as it is futile to drive a change if the training you administer then encourages the opposite mindset.

Practise What You Preach

If a growth mindset isn’t an integral part of your company culture then things like growth mindset training can be a big change. As with any big change that you make in an organisation, this needs to come from the top and be demonstrated and endorsed at every level for it to have an impact.

Managers and leaders of the company need to live and breathe a growth mindset at work as well, and make sure they are practising what they preach. If they aren’t, how can they expect anyone else to follow?

Think Long-Term

As changing the inherent cultures and beliefs of a business cannot happen overnight, commitment, patience and perseverance are required. It needs to be taken seriously and believed that it is a reasonable investment into the organisation’s strategy. 

However, remember, a business should only embrace and cultivate a growth mindset if they think it can be of benefit to their organisation strategy. It should never be done for the sake of it.

Practice Honesty

A huge part of how to achieve a growth mindset is to be comfortable with admitting that you have made a mistake or are trying to overcome a challenge. It’s only by accepting this that you can then reframe the situation to think more positively about the learning opportunity it presented.

In the workplace, creating a culture of honesty and openness is key to helping with growth mindset training for employees. The more that people talk about how they approach issues and struggles with a growth mindset, the more that other employees will also start to do the same.


Who coined the term growth mindset?

The term ‘growth mindset’ was coined by the American psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, which was published in 2006. The term ‘fixed mindset’ was also created at the same time to describe an opposing state of being. 

How can a growth mindset impact mental health?

Having a growth mindset can lead to more positive mental health as it involves viewing challenges and failures as learning opportunities. This reframes a potentially negative situation in a positive light, which helps to increase mood, resilience and motivation and helps people to feel much more capable.

What is the opposite of a growth mindset?

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. Whilst a growth mindset focuses on finding opportunities to learn and develop, a fixed mindset belongs to someone who believes that their skills and abilities are innate and that they cannot improve or overcome challenges.


A growth mindset is one of the most valuable tools that employees can have in the workplace, no matter what industry or role they work in. Once you’ve learned how to develop a growth mindset at work and how to achieve a growth mindset in your team, you can benefit from a range of outcomes including increased productivity, motivation, positivity and a broader range of skills within an organisation.

If you’re interested in learning more about a growth mindset, we have a wealth of resources. Whether it is a free bite-sized course, which is also available in our Personal and Professional Development Training Package, or a range of articles, videos and recorded seminars – we’ve got the topic covered.