Applying the Growth Mindset as a Supervisor

My most direct application of most of the principles from my coursework will be related to my position as a director of the IT department at a community college. Though it is not a classroom-style teaching position, these educational and leadership principles can make me a better supervisor.

I think the first step will be to look for signs of fixed mindset among my team and to look for opportunities to encourage them toward a growth mindset. Perhaps I can also take one of our weekly meetings every month to show a video from one of these courses to help encourage teamwork and growth as a department.

Applying the Four Steps

So I’m sitting here, staring at a blank screen, and having the growth/fixed mindset argument in my head now.

“You’re not a writer.”

“And I’ll never become one if I don’t write.”

“You’re too busy for this.”

“I will be tomorrow night, too.”

“You work better under pressure, you can get it done right before the deadline.”

“Perhaps. But then I will miss out on a chance to learn to apply the growth mindset.”

And on, and on. Until I finally decide to start typing. As Stephen King says, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” (p. 296)

I have a feeling that I will be having this conversation with myself a lot during the next few months, so I think my first approach will need to be to just suck it up and get started. I just need to refuse to listen to the inner critic, which I guess is another way of saying the second of Dweck’s steps to change.

King, S. (2000). On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Simon and Schuster.

How can you change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2017, from

New Here? Me Too.

This type of writing is far from typical for me. In fact, everything about this is different. While I love learning, going back into a classroom situation is not exactly my natural instinct. As a kid, I didn’t hate school, and I did okay, but I guess I have always been more of a learn-on-the-job kind of guy.  Or maybe, more like Fire, Aim, Ready.

But, here I am. With three kids, when I just started my most demanding job ever, more involved than ever in church and community projects, starting online classes. I’m excited, but this is definitely way outside my wheelhouse.

How appropriate, then, that the first topic revolves around Dweck’s concept of a “growth mindset,” that we should not limit ourselves to a “fixed” view of our own abilities but rather focus on the future version of ourself and set out to learn and achieve.

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.