Learning New Things Together: The Growth Mindset


Who would have thought that one day, we would all be in the same situation having to work in a virtual environment from home? Companies have shown different levels of readiness – not only in terms of technology. How often have you heard sentences like:

● „This is not possible.“

● „We can’t do that.“

● „It’s not as good as usual.“

…or you have said those words yourself.

But what if you could turn this curse into a blessing, by adding just one little word? Yes, exactly, just one word…

… „yet„.

● „This is not possible yet.“

● „We can’t do that yet.“

● „It’s not yetas good as usual.“

This word changes everything, because it shakes seemingly fixed truths and exposes them for what they really are: descriptions of states. And states can be changed. Stanford professor Carol Dweck (psychology) has observed in numerous studies with students that those who have a so-called „growth mindset“ seek challenges and are not easily discouraged by setbacks. Students with a so-called „fixed mindset“, on the other hand, shy away from new things because of a fear of failing.


There are two main things you should focus on to Growth Mindset within yourself and your team:

1. Be honest and open-minded about the things that you are not doing well yet. Now is not the time to „grit your teeth and get to it“. Ensure open and transparent communication. No one should have to be afraid or ashamed of things they are not able to do yet. Name the challenges, share information, help each other and learn from and with each other.

2. Acknowledge your team, but: don’t praise what your team members seem to „be“ („You’re just so good at this.“); instead, commend them for initiative and effort („Thanks for putting yourself out there.“). “Being” something means that there’s no need – and little chance – to “become” something. And then your employees may be afraid to fail, because failure would be a letdown; that maybe they “are” not what you thought they were. But if they experience that you value their commitment without regards to immediate success, they have no reason to fear failure.


As a manager, your team watches you very carefully. Therefore, be honest with your own learning needs. It doesn’t hurt you to say, „This is new to me, too.“ Allow yourself to learn and grow, too. Remember: the Growth Mindset is an attitude, not a tool.

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