We are a society that focuses on results. Results after all is what we go after. At the same time, if we only focus on the Target, we can grow discouraged and at times feel overwhelmed. What is the Power of Believing you Can Improve?
I was having a discussion with one of my direct reports. When a district became vacant, she temporarily was given responsibility over that district until the position could be filled. Effectively, her responsibilities were temporarily doubled. It was a challenging month for her and in her mind, she failed miserably.
During our discussion, she expressed that she did not accomplish what she wanted to do and felt she let me down. A few of her stores were under-performing and she did not make the impact she thought she would have. She looked discouraged.
I challenged her way of thinking with the following questions:
“Did she feel she learned from this experience?”
“Is there anything she would do differently next time that she felt would achieve better results?”
“What was she able to accomplish during the month she oversaw both districts?”
When she started answering my questions, she realized that instead of looking at what she didn’t accomplish, she should focus on what she did accomplish. She is a stronger leader because of the opportunities she was faced with.
When you are faced with a reality that you didn’t achieve the results you wanted, what is your initial reaction?
The following Ted Talk from Carol Dweck discusses the topic of, “The Power of Believing You Can Improve”. In this video she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Or, taking my example above that my District Manager faced, when you are faced with a situation where you feel you underperformed. Do you look at the situation as being not smart enough to solve it … or do you see yourself as simply not being able to solve it yet?
Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset”, the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. I want to take this one step further as well. Having a “growth mindset” means that you look at challenges and see not what you didn’t accomplish but what you learned along the way.
The Power of Believing That You Can Improve – Carol Dweck
The video emphasizes ways a parent can help their children develop a “growth mindset”. As a leader, you can take the same approach with your team. Begin by praising the process that your team members engage in: their efforts, their strategies, their focus and their improvement.
Next time you are faced with a tough problem or find yourself with an end result you are disappointed with, how can you train your mind to develop a “growth mindset”?
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