The benefit mindset: The psychology of contribution and everyday leadership

Ashley Buchanan, Margaret L. Kern


This paper explores the significance of mindset in shaping a future of greater possibility. One’s mindset reflects personally distinguishable attitudes, beliefs and values, which influence one’s ability to learn and lead, and to achieve and contribute. Bringing together two areas of research – a “being well” perspective from positive psychology and a socially and ecologically orientated “doing good” perspective – the Benefit Mindset is presented as a mutually supportive model for promoting wellbeing on both an individual and a collective level. It builds upon Dweck’s Fixed and Growth Mindset theory, by including the collective context in which an individual resides. The Benefit Mindset describes everyday leaders who discover their strengths to make valuable contributions to causes that are greater than the self, leaders who believe in making a meaningful difference, positioning their actions within a purposeful context. We argue that creating cultures of contribution and everyday leadership could be one of the best points of leverage we have for simultaneously bringing out the best in people, organizations and the planet.


mindset, contribution, leadership, learning, success, purpose, wellbeing, social innovation, systems thinking

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