by Taylor Tomita
Management is not just about leading by example and instruction. A truly great leader will coach their employees to help themselves to become stronger and more self-reliant and to learn skills they need in order to succeed and the confidence to execute those skills.
One of the swiftest ways to lose employee confidence and productivity is to allow their mistakes to overtake them. Obsessing over mistakes can lead to depression, heart disease, alcohol abuse, and even eating disorders. While your instinct may be to give your employees the ‘hairdryer’ treatment when they mess up, in the long run a constructive response is likely to be more beneficial for everyone involved.
Help your team develop the strength to bounce back from mistakes and learn how to do things better in the future. By doing this they’ll also learn to trust you and to re-invest that energy back into the company. For your part, help your employees learn how to recover from mistakes. Worrying about mistakes is a good thing in small doses, it’s something we’ve developed to help us survive. But employees need to know how to manage that worry so they can use it positively instead of letting it keep them awake at night.
How can you do this?
You can begin by boosting their confidence levels. Telling someone not to be too hard on themselves goes a long way. Empower your staff to use critical thinking rather than berate themselves. That means they need to learn to tell themselves things like: “I failed at this, but I know how to do it better next time” rather than “I’m inadequate”.
Instead of dwelling on the consequences of a mistake employees should return to the drawing board by constructing a point-by-point plan on how to mend what went wrong and learn how to improve it. For example, someone who deleted an important file should figure out not just how to delete files in the same way in future, but to practice an organized and reliable back-up routine.
You can also help them by putting their mistakes into perspective and encouraging them to do the same in future. Let’s call it spilt milk syndrome, because it’s rarely worth crying about. Create a culture of support around the workplace so that somebody who messes up doesn’t beat themselves up with worry that they are being talked about or looked down upon. Everybody makes mistakes that’s just how we learn.
This new visual guide from NetCredit lays out a mistake recovery philosophy in six straightforward steps. Equip your employees to think this way every time something goes (or nearly goes) wrong, and they will see work as a place where they can build and grow rather than a series of disasters waiting to happen.
Photo by Brian Minear (Unsplash)