Why mindset is as important as skill set

Emma Lovett, technology, change & digital transformation manager at Hudson shares her insights on why mindset is as important as skillset:

I always have people ask me what managers and recruiters keep an eye out for when they look to hire someone.

Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

Do I have to be constantly posting on LinkedIn, stuffing my profile with keywords or using eye-catching CV design templates to get noticed? What really makes me stand out from the crowd?

It’s always tough to offer a definitive answer – after all, it depends on your sector, your seniority and even the role itself. I always disappoint people when I tell them there’s no secret formula!

However, one piece of advice I always offer is this: you need to rethink your focus on skillset.

Everyone assumes you just need to fill your CV with an exhaustive list of skills – qualifications, experience and training all demonstrating why you’re the perfect person for the role.

And skills are still an important thing to emphasise; it’s just we often forget about mindset in the process.

But then people ask me: why is mindset so important? Surely we’re all going to approach a new role with a positive, enthusiastic outlook?

Again, (hopefully!) that’s true – but the science behind mindset is more complex than that. The truth is, mindset could well be a key influence on every aspect of your working life. And thinking about mindset, just as much as skillset, is going to be integral to success in the workplace of the future.

We define mindset as an approach you adopt in response to, or in the face of tasks, challenges and opportunities. Mindset is about the application of your experience, rather than your actual list of career experience – not your abilities, but your approach and your enthusiasm to develop new abilities.

At Hudson, our tool for measuring and assessing mindset (aptly called PULSE MINDSET™) looks at five mindset clusters: Challenge, Change, Leading, Collaborative and Solutions.
Within those clusters, we have certain facets. For example, the Challenge mindset includes facets like rational, critical, innovative and more. If someone takes the PULSE MINDSET™ assessment, they’ll be scored on each of the facets providing an overarching impression of your work style preferences through the prism of these mindset clusters.

So, what’s the ideal mindset balance? Surely the idea is to score highly on every single one of those facets?

No, not necessarily.

The thing is – and this might sound cliché – there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s no ideal mindset people have to adopt to succeed in their careers. In fact, a mix of mindsets within a team can only be a positive thing. However, there are action points to consider should you wish to improve your score in each.

Those wishing to improve their Challenge mindset – that is the ability to derive original insight from logical analysis of complex challenges – should consider placing less emphasis on obvious and concrete aspects:adding a theoretical angle to the concrete facts will allow you to see the bigger picture and strengthen your approach.

The Change mindset represents an individual’s enjoyment and ease of approach when dealing with new things. If this is an area you struggle with I would firstly advise finding a way to manage stress. Reflecting on what it is about the change that makes you uncomfortable is a good place to start and may allow you to identify ‘triggers’ that can then be addressed. I would also recommend regaining control where possible by shaping the change to something you are comfortable with as much as possible.

The Leading mindset – as the name would suggest – is the ability to lead others through persuasion and encouragement. The key to improving performance in this area lies in understanding what motivates others and understanding why they operate how they do.

A Collaborative mindset can be demonstrated in the value one places on working as part of a cooperative team. If you are someone who works better alone, you may wish to leverage your preference for actively listening to others; however, also consider how you can share your thoughts and opinions more readily.

Those who have a solutions mindset enjoy developing creative solutions to overcome barriers and showing the drive to achieve goals. If you do not feel this is you, consider the things you want to achieve for yourself in the short and medium terms, then determine the best steps for you to take in this regard and set these down on paper. That way, you can give yourself a little direction and be reminded of these steps every now and then.

So the next time you start looking for a new role, remember that you need to think about your mindset just as much as your skillset. Your experience, your qualifications and your training have all shaped your past, but mindset could be the thing that really shapes your future.

Emma LovettAbout the Author

Emma Lovett is a practice lead for Hudson Digital Transformation, working with organisations to support their talent strategy in times of change and growth.Emma is also project lead for PULSE MINDSET™, a psychometrics tool developed by business psychologists and digital business leaders.

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