“What you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion.”Forbes
Every wondered why you or someone you know that is great at their job keeps getting overlooked for career opportunities? Typically, employees who possess a growth mindset exhibit certain qualities that cause them to stand out amongst their peers. They tend to be passionate about learning, finding solutions and making a difference, all encapsulated in a positive attitude. Leaders are definitely more likely to have the confidence that this type of employee will get the job done, which in turn fuels the overall growth and development of the employee, even in cases where they may have lacked certain technical ability.
Passion Over Talent Any Day
Employees with a growth mindset are passionate about identifying and executing continuous improvement opportunities, while bringing an overall positive approach to their daily routine. These employees often eagerly accept accountability for specific tasks outside of their core responsibilities and see any failure, simply as a minor setback. Ironically, many times this type of employee might not be the most talented in the team nor even the subject matter expert.
Way too many employees today possess an entitlement mentality and somehow prefer to focus their energy on complaining versus seeking solutions. This mindset causes them to lose site of the bigger picture; failing to see new challenges, obstacles faced or any extended contribution required on their part as an opportunity to learn, grow and build capacity.
“If you find a path without any obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead to anywhere.”
After one year of literally bouncing around from role to role within the prestigious Barclays Mortgage Unit very early in my career, I successfully landed myself a full time job. My stint was totally rewarding, despite the year-long uncertainty around my employment status. After the six week project I was hired to work on came to a finish, I assumed the self-proclaimed and unofficial role of “Relief Officer”. My work days which I am certain many would have found extremely frustrasting saw me bouncing around from desk to desk assisting other team members and proactively filling any voids within the unit; not to mention taking on any special projects that the full-time team had no time nor interest in pursuing.
While the demands on my time grew rapidly so was my knowledge, experience and skill set. I was eager to learn, remained coachable and not once did I allow any negativity to step in nor did I feed off the vibe of others who thought I was being exploited. At 18 years old without any major qualifications, I was learning about mortgage collateral requirements and the associated insurance, bank reconciliations, insurance products, delivering first class service and so much more.
Dont wait for it. Create it!
People with a growth mindset feel empowered and are eager to share their suggestions and ideas with their leaders and peers. They tend to leverage their strenghts to bring about improvements, while recognising areas of weakness yet exhibit the confidence to engage and share with others to ensure that the best solutions are presented and or implemented. Persons that are truly focused on growth rarely focus on the obstacles; always on the opportunities and are willing to go the extra mile (or two), while remaining accountable for the task at hand. Simply put, they give it their all because they are passionate about what they do!
Seek Constant Feedback
Never underestimate the power of obtaining feedback but you must be truly ready to receive it and take action. Feedback on your overall performance or how you handle certain situations can come from your direct manager, supervisors, a mentor or coach and even peers. Only persons that can objectively offer you constructive feedback should ever be engaged as part of your growth plan and trust me, we all need those persons in our life that care enough to tell us the cold, hard truth! As a general rule, feedback from close friends should only be solicited if they are brutally honest and possess the ability to remain unbias with a clear appreciation for your future goals. Be forewarned though, not all feedback received will sit well with you and that’s okay, once you get over the initial shock or hurt, be ready to take action.
Be Willing to Learn and Adapt
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you they say, so you have to remain flexible. A growth mindset requires you to try new things and new approaches. Last year in a 360 leadership review, the CEO scored me as average for “taking risks”, which stuck out like a soar thumb on the assessment report. He went even further expanding on his reason for the score, highlighting that my preference was to always make calculated decisions. This feedback sent me in an instant state of reflection because I knew he was absolutely right! But how would I ever change my approach?
I quickly started examining specific cases that I could have been handled differently. This process was crucial if I were to improve my overall performance and ultimately my boss’ perception going forward.
Employees sometimes go into performance reviews ready to dispute any unfavourable scores but the real value comes from treating the highlighted areas as an opportunity for growth. That being said, the approach adopted by some managers is not at all conducive for fueling growth. As a leader, your approach should be to provide frequent and ongoing feedback to team members so that the performance review process brings little to no surprises.
If you are truly ready to grow and excel in your current field, start using any opportunity that you are granted or that falls within your reach as a platform for professional growth. Your willingness to participate and even lead some projects will go a long way in shaping your career growth plan.
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – and then figure out how to do it later!”Richard Branson
Be mindful that if your first thought is linked to the need for an increase in salary or reward and recognition, then your mindset is still not completely repositioned for growth. I am not at all advocating for anyone to be exploited, simply that you realise that extroadinary work seldomly goes unnoticed and is usually followed by amazing returns.
The success you have been waiting for sits outside your comfort zone yet within your control. Allow your desire to grow and your passion to succeed drive your contribution and rest assured the best is yet to come…..