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How to apply Growth Mindset in leadership?

Having a ’Growth Mindset’ is often seen as a basic need for all Start-Up founders, and not something you find in many large corporations. Microsoft are bucking that trend.

Feb 02, 2020

Having a ’Growth Mindset’ is often seen as a basic need for all Start-Up founders, and not something you find in many large corporations. Microsoft are bucking that trend.

As a leader, having a “Growth Mindset” means: focus on learning. Don’t pretend that you have all of the answers, be humble, and believe that skills can be improved with practice and effort – during an entire lifetime.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has been building a growth mindset within the organisation with the aim to evolve its leadership methods and modernise the company, in addition to, of course, improving revenues.

“Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his surrounding leadership team have come to discourage a “culture of genius,” in which people use their intelligence competitively, rather than cooperatively.”

Leadership styles that used to work, are no longer welcome in the modern workplace – Carrot or Stick, anyone?

Change isn’t easy, and some organisations really struggle with evolving their leadership methodology. Sometimes it is good to get outside help in order to change, which is what Microsoft did, by taking the step of partnering with the Neuro Leadership Institute, working together on fresh methods to create and effectively implement the new company-wide mindset.

Toolboxes such as conversation guides, games, quizzes and libraries of resources, were all developed to help the “growth mindset” take off within Microsoft.

 “If we want the growth mindset to happen in real life,” said one Senior Director of Organizational Development, “we have to create the conditions for it and modify them as we learn what works and what doesn’t.”

As with most organizational change, there will always be some people that jump in and adopt the new ideas, quickly, and others that will fight hard to keep the “old ways”.

What is clear is that in today’s workplace – collaboration, community building, and learning, are the things that people want to be surrounded by. The days of “Doing as I say!” are thankfully dying out, and senior managers realise that they will retain employees, and build better companies that can attract smart talent, through building and maintaining relationships, involving junior staff in decision making and even by acting as the ‘servant’ to their workers – supporting and helping them, rather than telling them what to do.

Our blurred relationship with personal and business technology gives another reason to evolve leadership styles into a more modern and friendly approach. With platforms such as Glassdoor and Equality Check offering easy ‘Feedback’ Reviews for past and present employees, it is essential that the good reputation of companies is maintained – and this starts at the top, with good leadership.

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