January 31, 2015
Team leader shows a growth mindset
She told us that she had conducted a personal development conversation with a team member in which she had used several progress-focused techniques and that this conversation had gone really well. She told us she had used the circle technique. First, she had asked the team member which things she had already accomplished and which things already worked well in her work. At first, this team member had responded a bit reluctantly and had said that actually everything was going well.
Instead of contesting this view, the team leader accepted what she said and started asking questions about what was in the inner circle, in other words which specific thing were going right. When the team member mentioned several things the team leader showed a great deal of interest and asked for details. When they had discussed several things in the inner circle the team leader moved on to the outer circle and asked in which things she thought further progress might be possible. To her surprise the team member then started to mention several examples of how she might make further progress. After having talked about these things, they talked about which first steps forward the team member might take.
When I heard this I asked how, specifically, she had noticed that the conversation had been going well she replied that the team member had become more and more at ease during and open during the conversation. Near the end of the conversation the team leader had asked the usefulness question to which the team member had replied in a relieved tone of voice: "What I really like is that I have found out that I am allowed to make mistakes in my work!"
Such a remark indeed suggests that the conversation mus have been a good one. I asked her what the reason was that the team member came to this realization. Then she told about how she had approached this conversation differently than she had done before. Normally she would have spoken a lot herself during the conversation and she would put the main emphasis on sharing her views of and opinions about the team member. Now, she was doing different things: asking questions, listening, accepting the team members perspective, asking more questions, and building on what the team member had said. Apparently, this had worked well.
Making mistakes is an essential part of performing well and of learning. This team leader had shown a growth mindset and elicited a growth mindset in the team member. By doing this she, doubtlessly, took a step forward in the direction of an (even) better cooperation, (even) better learning, and (even) better results.