Growth Mindset and Diversity and Inclusion
By: Brad Dolbec
In today’s world, the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life cannot be overstated. This is especially true in the workplace where organizations that are diverse and inclusive show more innovation and success than those that are not. Numerous studies by such organizations as The Boston Group and McKinsey found companies embracing diversity and inclusion have greater innovation, higher financial performance and creativity.
So, this raises the question of how a leader can ensure a diverse and inclusive team? One way is to embrace a “growth” mindset. A “growth” mindset is a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck to describe the belief that abilities and skills can be developed through dedication, hard work and help from others. This is in contrast to a “fixed” mindset, which believes that abilities and skills are innate and cannot be changed. Thus, leaders who possess a growth mindset are more likely to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and persist through obstacles. They understand their skills and abilities are not fixed and can be developed through effort and perseverance.
So, what should a growth mindset-based leader be doing to create a diverse and inclusive organization? While there are many approaches, the following have been shown to be especially effective.
- Treat concepts such as diversity and inclusion not just as buzzwords or trendy concepts, but as essential for creating a successful and innovative organization. Be open to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of thinking, and recognize how critical they are to your organization’s success.
- Constantly seek out feedback. Great leaders understand it is essential for growth and improvement and are willing to listen to feedback even if it is critical. This creates a culture of openness and transparency, which is essential for promoting diversity and inclusion. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives when they know that their leaders are receptive to feedback given in a safe environment.
- Taking risks and trying new things is embraced. They understand that innovation requires taking calculated risks and trying new approaches and are not afraid to fail. This creates an environment where employees feel empowered to take risks and new approaches, which is essential for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In conclusion, research supports the idea that diversity and inclusion are essential for creating a successful and innovative organization. To achieve these results, leaders understand that a diverse workforce by itself does not lead to better outcomes. They must create an inclusive environment where employees feel valued and respected. Embracing new ideas, different ways of thinking, constantly getting feedback and taking risks is what a growth mindset leader does. This takes dedication and hard work, exactly what Carol Dweck’s work found as what constitutes a growth mindset.
- McKinsey & Company: Why Diversity Matters: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters
- Boston Consulting Group: How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation: https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/how-diverse-leadership-teams-boost-innovation.aspx