We’ve all heard of people who rode a wave or actually changed entire industries because they had a nose for change and how to benefit from it. Intel’s co-founder Andy Grove is one of those people. He sensed that personal computers would become ubiquitous at a time when he could just stayed the course and raked in the dough from providing the inner works for huge mainframe computers.
While we all can speed up our leadership skills by learning from those who have succeeded, it’s also good to know what can prevent change or innovation. Mary Ellen Slayter of SmartBrief interviewed Carol Dweck, the author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and found a “rigid mindset” prevents innovation. Dweck says if you don’t believe you or others can change or “grow” your learning and skills, odds are you won’t innovate.
Ok. So, what exactly are the traits of managers who spur innovation? Dweck calls it a growth mindset: “They believe that their talents and abilities can be developed over time through learning, dedication and mentorship. They don’t necessarily believe that everyone’s the same or that anyone can be anything, but they believe that everyone can grow their abilities. This is a mindset that leads people to stretch out of their comfort zone to try new things. They are less interested in proving how smart they are than in getting smarter.”
Dweck outlines the ways a growth mindset spurs innovation:
Research shows that the prime characteristic of managers who have break-out ideas or products is a growth mindset.
Second, research shows that growth-mindset managers create better work environments. They are more open to feedback from employees (because they’re interesting in learning); they are better mentors (because they believe in development); and they are perceived by their workers as more fair (because they believe everyone has the capacity to improve).
Third, those who have a growth mindset acquire the skills for success. For example, research shows that those who believe that negotiators are made (a growth mindset) become better negotiators than those who believe good negotiators are born (a fixed mindset).
Finally, growth-mindset work teams accomplish more. Research shows that teams whose members have a growth mindset set higher standards, keep pushing the envelope, work together better and outperform teams whose members have a fixed mindset.
Hmm. Next time you’re looking for innovation in your company, look around at your managers and check whether they have a growth mindset. Doesn’t seem like it would be hard to tell. Of course, hopefully their boss has a growth mindset as well.