Do you feel like you are being continually tested and have a need to prove yourself all the time? Do you feel like you are not always as good as you want to be?

If so, it could be that you are operating from a ‘fixed’ mindset.

In this article I want to help you understand whether you approach life with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, and show you the importance for you (and your team or organisation) of operating with a growth mindset so that you can release your full potential.

This is also the subject of my latest ‘Leadership Mindset – Think, See, Do’ podcast episode, which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher, podcast Apps or on my website by clicking here.

The concept of Growth and Fixed Mindsets originated from Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck.

Fixed mindset people and organisations

A ‘fixed mindset’ person or organisation will typically need to look good or smart and so will tend to:

  • Focus on the need to be validated
  • Avoid challenges that could result in failure
  • Ignore useful feedback
  • Feel threatened by the success of others

As a result, these people and organisations will constrain their potential as they are driven by a fear of being perceived as not good enough.

Growth mindset people and organisations

A ‘growth mindset’ person or organisation will typically seek to learn and progress and so will tend to:

  • See growth and improvement as a journey
  • Embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks
  • Learn from all feedback
  • See lessons and inspiration in the success of others

As a result, these people and organisations will release their potential as they reach higher and higher levels of achievement.

Change, Eustress and Distress

Eustress means beneficial stress—either psychological, physical (e.g. exercise), or biochemical (hormesis).

Research has found that people with a growth mindset thrive more in uncertainty. This research was completed by creating a task where there were interruptions, and the performance of growth mindset people was significantly higher. Our environments are typically ones where there are interruptions and change. This can cause distress where changes are seen as a threat. Or it can create more positive eustress where change is seen as a challenge. Growth mindset stress is more likely to be eustress and be less threatening to our wellbeing.

Brain Activity

Further to this, it has been found that the brain responds differently, depending on whether you are a growth or fixed mindset orientated. A growth mindset has been found to create less activity in the Amygdala, which is the part of the brain linked with our emotional responses, especially those of freeze, fight and flight!

Great leaders work on their growth mindset

When leading yourself first and then leading your business or organisation, there are some steps you can take to move to a more productive growth mindset:

  • Have faith in your ability to continually develop through learning
  • Believe in team work and in helping your team develop
  • Continually inspire and recognise the progress of your people
  • Be more open with information
  • Be willing to experiment, get things wrong and share the mistakes
  • Focus on and see your continual progress over time
  • Always see the opportunity to learn from others
  • Develop a feedback culture
  • Watch your language – “I am not able to do this YET”

I hope you have found this article useful and will reap the benefits of developing and maintaining your growth mindset.

Otherwise, please feel free to give me a call on 07912 143040 or email me at and we can discuss how I can support your leadership development.