Goldman Sachs exec: The No. 1 soft skill successful people use to get ahead at work—and how to develop it


Shekhinah Bass has had a successful career at Goldman Sachs, where she currently serves as the head of talent strategy in the human capital management division. She believes that the most important soft skill for success on Wall Street is having a growth mindset. A growth mindset means seeing your abilities, talent, and knowledge as skills that can be developed and improved over time, as opposed to a fixed mindset which believes that skills and talents are unchangeable. 

Bass explains that a growth mindset can be measured by how one responds to feedback from managers and colleagues in the workplace. People with a growth mindset see feedback as an opportunity to identify their blind spots and improve how they show up in different work situations. They understand that they have control over their own growth and development.

To develop and practice a growth mindset, Bass suggests setting challenging goals, taking risks, and seeking feedback and coaching from others. When receiving constructive criticism, she recommends responding in a way that shows an openness to feedback and a willingness to improve. For example, acknowledging the feedback and outlining the steps you will take to improve or acknowledging that a certain skill is not yet a strength but expressing a commitment to focus on it.

Neuroscientists have conducted extensive research showing that a growth mindset is the most effective mindset for achieving goals, developing new skills, learning from failures, and making positive changes in life. Companies also value this skill and look for individuals who are open to improvement and willing to try new approaches.

In summary, having a growth mindset involves a belief in the potential for growth and improvement in one's abilities, as well as a willingness to learn from feedback and take on new challenges. It is a valuable skill for success in the workplace and in life.  

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