Angela Duckworth talks about the KIPP teaching thesaurus in Grit. Turns out that the wording teachers use can dramatically affect how students see themselves, and how they learn or don’t learn in the future.

Undermines Growth Mindset

Promotes Growth Mindset

“You’re a natural! I love that.”

“You’re a learner! I love that.

“Well, at least you tried!”

“That didn’t work. Let’s talk about how you approached it and what might work better.”

“Great Job! You’re so talented!”

“Great job! What’s one thing that could have been even better?”

“This is hard. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it.”

“This is hard. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it yet.”

“Maybe this just isn’t your strength. Don’t worry-you have other things to contribute.”

“I have high standards. I’m holding you to them because I know we can reach them together.”

A similar shift in messaging might work for teams:

Undermines Growth Mindset

Promotes Growth Mindset

“We don’t have the skills to do that”

“We can do that if we first learn these skills.”

“We’re going as fast as we can.”

“What’s one thing we could change to help us go faster?”

“Our launch went perfectly!”

“Great launch! How can we do even better next time?”

“So and so isn’t a good fit for this type of project.”

“So and so doesn’t have the right skills for this yet, but we can teach so and so by…”

“This isn’t our strength.”

“We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard with this because it isn’t yet our strength.”

Read more about growth mindset on wikipedia.