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The Eighth Commandment Of Highly Effective Leadership: Establish A Growth Mindset


Professor Carol Dweck is known for her many years of research on what she calls a mindset versus a fixed mindset.

In fact, in his latest book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone, CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella shares that his success and the renewed success of Microsoft is due to having a growth mindset.

But what is a growth mindset, and why is it so elusive?

In a Harvard Business Review article, Dweck explains that "...we all have our own fixed-mindset triggers. When we face challenges, receive criticism, or fare poorly compared with others, we can easily fall into insecurity or defensiveness, a response that inhibits growth."

If you get defensive or feel like a failure when things don't go your way, that indicates a fixed mindset. In a growth mindset, however, we are always learning. We believe that talent can be developed. But it requires the hard work of learning new things and willingness to receive input from others.

According to Dweck, those with a growth mindset "tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning."

In working with companies, I find that there are actually three levels a leader must be aware of: mindset, skillset and toolset.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about "paradigm shifts," or the mental map. He says if we want to see quantum changes, we must examine our paradigms (in other words, our mindsets). If our mindsets are the same, it will be challenging to make a