Do you believe talent is innate or improvable? Can people build new skills or merely improve existing ones? What’s more important: knowing it all or learning it all?
So much of performance management hangs on the answers to these questions. How people behave, perform, and contribute depends on whether they can adapt to new challenges in the workplace. Yet talent leaders seldom think in these terms. Instead, they strive to assemble the smartest teams that can set an example for everyone else.
What to strive for?
It may be tempting to say both approaches have their merits. But years of research have shown that one far outweighs the other. Indeed, in cultures of development — rather than cultures of genius — teams show higher levels of trust, empowerment, and grit. Instead of worshipping talent, people focus on improvement. They still measure outcomes, but only in relation to past performance.
Psychologists call this a “growth mindset” approach to performance management. And in the long run, research shows it’s more likely to lead people to share their learning strategies with others, view poor performance as an opportunity to educate rather than punish, and focus on mastering new skills rather than illustrating competence relative to others.
How growth mindset fits in
In the NeuroLeadership Institute’s latest white paper, “Transforming Performance Management with a Growth Mindset Approach,” we offer a detailed picture of what happens when leaders use growth mindset in performance management.
For example, the paper presents three key benefits of such an approach (for leaders and employees alike) and offers a handful of case studies of companies already on their growth mindset journey.
Approaching performance management with a growth mindset also enables teams to better respond to feedback. When people prove themselves and strive to be seen as geniuses, negative feedback may threaten that status. As a result people often shut down and become less receptive to criticism. Meanwhile, in cultures of development, feedback is more welcome — doubly so if teams develop a culture of asking for feedback.
Read about these benefits, and many more, by grabbing a copy of the white paper for yourself and starting on your own learning journey.
To learn more about the neuroscience of growth mindset, click here.
By Chris Weller