Guildleader chores: Changing mindsets - how do you move players from fixed mindsets to growth mindsets?

It's interesting when Kyxyn talk late at night about things. We both have occupations where we have to teach others in real life, and it's interesting when we discuss the difference between teaching children/adolescents and adults.

And, not surprisingly, that conversation washes over into our World of Warcraft dealings - how do you tell someone that they need to improve or make suggestions about how they could improve? They Kyxyn brought up the twotypes of mindset and I realise just how much we see that in game and it started me thinking about what we can do about it.

In my guild, we often pussy foot around people who aren't doing as well and hesitate giving advice to them about how they need to improve. I fully admit I get the shits when people who don't play a druid healer tell me how I should be healing, but when another druid tells me how to play I happily listen to their advice. That is probably why I dislike having to tell someone about how to improve their gameplay - firstly, it is very common knowledge that I have no alts and play no other classes, so me trying to give advice on anything is usually met with a bit of "what the hell would you know". And I don't blame them, because it's true. I don't know anything.

When you read the kinds of mindsets there are above, most people would like to think they are of the Growth Mindset. I know I would like to think of myself there too. A fixed mindset can be what is limiting a person from success.

An example of fixed mindset - one of my guildies would complain every time there was a change to their class. Their DPS would drop and they would say it was because Blizzard broke the class. What they hadn't really tried to do was use the new changes to try to improve their gameplay - they were playing the class how they used to play it many years ago and it wasn't working like it used to. That class was actually doing very well on some fights and when the person was told this, they would get angry as if they were being accused of being a bad player.

Or how about this:

  • "This boss is too hard, it's geared towards encounters with more than 20 people."
  • "You can't do this boss with this many melee."
  • "We can't do this boss without a paladin healer."

Sound familar? Know people in your own guild like that?

Kyxyn has been looking at logs a lot lately, using them as tools to compare himself and others with what others of the same class are doing. He has been doing that with everyone else as well. I realise that he wants everyone to perform to the best of their potential because that is what teachers do, but not everyone likes being told that they could reach a better potential. Some are happy with what they have chosen as their talents and find it confrontational when offered other options when compared to other players.

What he asked me, was how can we make it part of our guild culture to be able to receive feedback about our performance without getting offended - and striving to improve?

I had to unfortunately tell him that his constant comments on how to improve to people were a little too frequent, and came across like nagging so that every time he wanted to speak to someone, they would immediately get their back up, thinking he was going to nag them about their DPS again. He wanted to know what he could do so that wouldn't happen.

People look at this game as somewhere to unwind, relax. They don't look at it as a place where you can improve your social skills, your teamwork skills and even work on addressing your shortcomings and learning to overcome them. If I said that to my officers now (or future officers) that my goal was to help every guild member to be the best that they can be by helping hone social skills, team work and provide support and encouragement in those areas, they would laugh at me and say they play this game to have fun, and not be a job - after all, those are the sorts of things you have to deal with in real life and you are trying to escape them by playing games!

However, I hate wasted opportunities. And there are so many opportunities to gently nudge people in the right direction to be better. And some of them have succeeded... others still need work.

So, now we are back to trying to nudge the people with fixed mindsets to recognise them and WANT to change into a growth mindset. I don't want to give you all the gory details of how I want to insiduously do this, because then people will recognise that "Navi is going to try to one of her mind game things on me," and then none of what I plan will work!

Firstly, I focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each person. Everyone has a strength. You just need to be able to recognise it and use it to your advantage. Each guildies has a different strength - be it a great healing/DPS output, excellent at mechanics, good at explaining, following instructions. And everyone has a weakness too and those need to be recognised as well - lack of patience, easily frustrated, slow to move out of mechanics, tunnelling, poor commnication.

Next, positive reinforcement should be the start of every conversation. For example, I would say "OMG, your damage today was heaps better!", "Your healing was really good that attempt compared to the last one!" or "You were so much easier to heal today, it was great!" People love being complimented, rather than launching straight into the negative.

The next part is trickier. When is the right time to start giving the not so good news? For me, it depends on the person. Some guildies ask me for improvements - those ones I would tell them straight away what I need them to do. Some players do better when you tell them to focus on a particular task - absorb all these swirls, heal this player. When giving a task, they can focus on it and not have to worry about other things going on in the raid. With other players, I find it's better to continue stroking the ego a bit before I switch tack.

I often play out my own shortcomings as a way to make it seem like I'm not a know it all. I'm very good at pointing out my mistakes anyway. I might mention a part that I found difficult and then see what the person says in response. After that I make the comment where I want improvement. And I only make a comment about ONE thing I want to improve at a time.  There may be 6 things that need to improve but people feel better when they can master one thing and succeed than if they attempt to master 6 things and fail.  Slow steps. Very slow steps. Well, that's the plan anyway. I'll see if I can actually accomplish this. It's easy to talk about it, less easy to execute.

Moving from the fixed to the growth mindset can also be a self awareness thing. Recognising the fixed mindset and growth mindset thoughts in your own head and choosing between them will also benefit the player in the long run. I can't make people to do this but I frequently do it to myself.  For example:

Fixed mindset thought: I suck at DPS. I'm only going to DPS when nobody else is around because everyone is going to laugh at me and tell me I suck. I'll just stick to healing because I'm good at it.
(I can see everyone laughing at me because unfortunately this is the truth. However, I do try and improve but I need more opportunity to practice)
Growth mindset thought: I need to practice DPS more. The next opportunity I can take to practice I will take it so I can try to get better. I have to learn to watch for the solar and lunar eclipses better so I don't waste DPS!

Fixed mindset thought: It's not my fault. It's Blizzard's fault for breaking my class or making paladins too powerful and I can't keep up in heals.
Growth mindset thought: Which part of this fight are my heals going to be useful? Perhaps if I conserve mana for the later part of the fight where bigger output is needed I can be of more help there when everyone else is out of mana.

Kyxyn recommended me to read things by Carol Dweck. If you're interested in trying to get yourself out of the fixed mindset, hit her up on Google. I found it very enlightening.