Brains and Talent Can Be Impediments to Success

Carol Dweck is a Stanford University psychologist, who has
spent decades researching achievement and success, has
proposed that if we praise and reward employees for brains
and talent rather than effort, we will end up with lower
productivity and fewer successes.

Dr. Dweck’s research has identified two mindsets:

1. Fixed Mindset – If you praise people for being “smart”
when they are successful at a task, they are less likely
to work hard at future tasks as they tend to believe that
their success was related to something they “have,” such
as talent or intelligence.

2. Growth Mindset – If you praise people for the effort
that they put into a successful task, they will tend to
work harder at more challenging tasks as they will relate
success to something that comes about through effort, and
effort is something they can control.

HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: How many times have we seen very
intelligent people just waste their talent simply because
they believed that they had “the right stuff” and didn’t
need to continue working to develop their skills?

By contrast, people with a Growth Mindset, whether highly
talented or not, are constantly looking for ways to
improve their skills.  Growth Mindset individuals believe
that hard work and concerted effort create success.

We need to be able to teach managers how to recruit,
develop, and reward employees who exhibit a
Growth Mindset.

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