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Helping employees overcome a scarcity mindset

Last time on the blog, we introduced the concept of a ‘scarcity mentality’ in the workplace—a very real matter that many employees experience across a wide variety of companies and organisations.

Why does the scarcity mentality matter in the workplace? Because if your team members maintain such a mindset in their day-to-day job, it can have detrimental results: pessimism, unhealthy competitiveness among each other, and a general lack of cooperation. Suddenly, instead of viewing each co-worker as a colleague and teammate, employees view those in their workplace as rivals they must best. This unfortunately leads to an environment that feels strained and stressful and which has very little forward-motion.


The good news is that leaders have the unique ability to set the tone for their team. The mindset that you model will most likely be adopted by your team members. That said, if you instead put forth an abundance mentality, then your team can learn from you and start seeing the workplace as a vastly resourceful arena where there are many possibilities and where their ideas matter.

Last time, we provided strategies for leaders to model an abundance mindset, but it’s just as important that you encourage you team with actual practices they can do for themselves. That way, they take ownership of their own abundance mentality both on the job and in their personal lives, making it more likely to stick. Here are some methods you can guide them in practicing.


Find a new crowd.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that a person is the sum total of the five individuals with whom they spend the most time. Have your employees assess the company they keep. Are these individuals empowering and encouraging? The less time we spend with negative people, the more freedom we give our minds to dwell on things that are uplifting and productive.


Pursue personal growth.

Scarcity mentality is all about comparing yourself to others and finding yourself lacking. What’s interesting is that after drawing these comparisons, most people do nothing about it. It seems some people would rather spend time focusing on what they lack than on working toward erasing that lack. That’s why it’s so important to pursue personal growth. Ask your team members what their passions are, where they feel their talents lie, what they feel they’re lacking in terms of experience and skillset. Then encourage them to actively seek classes and resources that will allow them to improve their skills and grow as a person. There’s a real sense of empowerment that can be derived from pursuing activities that make us feel confident and happy.


Flip the script.

One of the simplest ways to defeat a scarcity mentality is to stop scarcity thoughts in their track and then ‘flip the script’. For example, if a team member gets a raise, those in the workplace operating under a scarcity mentality will immediately feel resentful: ‘Jill got a promotion? That’s not fair. I have just as much experience as she does. Why isn’t my work getting recognition? I’ll be stuck in this position forever now.’ An abundance mindset, on the other hand, would go something like this: ‘Jill got a promotion? That’s excellent news! This means management must be looking closely at each candidate’s output at the moment. I’ll continue to put my best foot forward and make it known I’m interested in advancing in this career. I know there must be many opportunities coming soon.’ The more you practice this method, the more second-nature it’ll become, until your mind is filled with positive thoughts 24/7, therefore putting you in a position to feel more confident and put forth your best work always.


When employees are given the space, opportunity, and guidance to build an abundance mentality, they’ll not only become happier and more positive people because of it, but they’ll bring a new sense of security and peace to the workplace, which leads to a highly functional environment where team members work together and drive the company forward.

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