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Managers and Mindsets

Is Talent Management about finding talented individuals or helping your employees develop themselves?

It depends on the manager and their mindset.

Research shows many managers do not believe in personal change. Managers with a fixed-mindset are simply look for existing talent. They judge employees as competent or incompetent at the start, and there's little coaching to follow.

On the other hand, the most talented managers have a zest for learning and a growth mindset. They believe in investing in the coaching and development of their employees. They're also more open to feedback about becoming better leaders.

Carol S. Dweck is one of the leaders in personality and social psychology and the bestselling author of the book "Mindset". She discusses the differences between fixed and growth mindsets and the implications at schools, for athletes, businesses, relationships and other social settings.

What are the differences between these two mindsets?

What is Ability?

Those with a fixed mindset would tell me it is a fixed ability that needs to be proven. Those with a growth mindset would tell me it is a changeable ability that can be developed through learning

Those with a fixed mindset feel smart when they don't make mistakes. They are only interested if they do well right away. They want to be flawless, look smart and talented.

Those with a growth mindset believe challenge and interest go hand in hand.

“When I work on something for a long time and I start to figure it out, I probably have a growth mindset. ”

We also see a difference in what effort means.

If those with a fixed mindset did bad, they'll work less. If you don't have the ability, why bother?

There are 2 reasons why effort is terrifying

Great geniuses are not supposed to need it. Needing it costs a shadow on your ability

It robs you of all your excuses. Without effort, you can always say “I could have been something” but once you try, you can't say that anymore.

There's a misconception that effort is for those who don't have the ability. That if you're talented, effort will reduce you.

Keeping a growth mindset helps managers challenge their biases and make better decisions based on facts, when it comes to behaviors and performance.

As a Manager, how can you instill the growth mindset in your employees?

Step #1: Help Your Employees Become Aware of The Mindset They Currently Have

Make them think about the last time they experienced unexpected positive growth.

What do they attribute those changes to?

Effort or talent?

And how do they seek to re-emulate that kind of growth?

Step #2: Set the Right Goals for your Team

Setting learning goals for your team fosters a growth mindset. Performance goals focus on a specific KPI while learning goals encourage employees to take on new challenges, experiment, put in effort and, ultimately, improve.

At IDEO, employees are encouraged to challenge themselves through prototyping.

"Prototyping is problem solving. It's a culture and a language. You can prototype just about anything - a new product or service, or a special promotion. What counts is moving the ball forward, achieving part of your goal. Not wasting time"

Step #3: Shape your Workplace Culture around Growth

You can do this through giving feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success. In Toastmasters we use what's known as a sandwich technique. Starting an evaluation with what the speaker did well. Then talking about how the speaker can improve. And finally challenging the speaker to take on a challenge for their next speech.

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” ― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success

Change your mindset and take your first step to success.

If you'd like to your employees to develop a mindset for success, Inspire2Aspire Consulting offers workshops on Cultivating A Growth Mindset.

Check out our video about Mindsets:


  1. Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House Digital, Inc..

  2. Dweck, C. (2014). Talent:: How companies can profit from a" growth mindset". Harvard Business Review, 92(11), 7.

  3. Heslin, P. A., Latham, G. P., & VandeWalle, D. (2005). The effect of implicit person theory on performance appraisals. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(5), 842.

  4. Kouzes, T. K., & Posner, B. Z. (2019). Influence of managers’ mindset on leadership behavior. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.


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