David Rock’s SCARF model is an excellent framework through which to explore human behaviour as driven by people’s social concerns. The first component is Status which relates to how we see ourselves and how others see us.
An individual whose status is not threatened will believe their effort in the work environment is making a difference. Therefore, they are more engaged and more productive as they are choosing to use their discretionary energy in the workplace.
When we hold a growth mindset, we see mistakes as a temporary situation, and with a little work, they can be overcome. As leaders, we do not need to accept mediocrity to prevent a threat to status. We just want to recognise how to give feedback in a way that maintains status and creates growth.
One way to engage a growth mindset is to avoid asking why a person made the mistake (which focuses on the mistake and creates shames) and focus on getting back on track to the solution – “What do we need to do to get this project back on track?” The “we” is a key word, as that keeps their status in operating the project intact. When you use a mistake as a path for growth – from which your staff can learn and grow – you eliminate the threat and unleash their energy.
This recognition of mistakes as a path for growth is not about encouraging mistakes, but rather, taking the fear out of trying something new. It’s Engaging Action. This reinforces that an individual’s status is not based on being perfect, but on working hard and growing in performance.