The Importance of a Growth Mindset

By Zanele Gumede (HR Practitioner)

We live in an ever-changing World of Work and with the 4th Industrial Revolution creeping up on us which emphasizes the importance of a growth mindset for the Employee who wants to master excellence and remain employable. A growth mindset is sees gaps in our knowledge or skills as chances for growth. A growth mindset is the belief that with effort, training and determination, our abilities can be increased. A fixed mindset is the idea that our intelligence, character and creativity are innate and unchangeable.

With a growth mindset, you’re open to improvement and believe you can only get better and smarter, which are attractive qualities in the workplace. Your mindset can affect everything from how you react to feedback to your willingness to take on new projects to even how you manage employees. For example, if you take a fixed mindset toward managing your direct reports, you’re less likely to think they are capable of growth and so are less likely to challenge them. If, however, you have a growth mindset, you’re more likely to “provide feedback and create development opportunities for your team.

Of course, few of us always fall entirely into one mindset or another. Still, it’s worth figuring out which mindset you favor—and trying to cultivate more of a growth mindset, where you can. An excellent way to adopt a growth mindset is to question how you’re reacting to something in the moment. Did you respond defensively to feedback? Did you embrace a chance for growth or stick to your comfort zone? Consider the following:


Fixed mindset: Skills are set and unchangeable.
Growth mindset: New skills can be learned with hard work, effort, and training.


Fixed mindset: Feedback is a criticism and a sign of failure.
Growth mindset: Feedback is an opportunity to grow and improve.


Fixed mindset: Intimidated or threatened by other people’s success.
Growth mindset: Inspired by successful people or projects.


Fixed mindset: Failure means you’re not capable.
Growth mindset: Failure is a chance to learn from your mistakes for the next attempt.


Fixed mindset: Avoids difficult challenges or tasks.
Growth mindset: Embraces challenges as an opportunity to learn and develop.


Fixed mindset: Afraid to admit when they don’t know something.
Growth mindset: Willing to say “I don’t know”—and eager to learn.


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