As a team leader, how do you handle mistakes when they occur?
Common belief holds that mistakes are unacceptable in the workplace, but can that really stop them from happening?
No employee, system or programme is perfect, and errors are bound to occur.
While creating strategies for preventing mistakes is beneficial, it is also advantageous to look upon them as something that can actually benefit your team.
Read on to find out how.
When managers will not tolerate mistakes on the part of their staff, they make themselves micromanagers, leaders who are involved in every aspect of their team’s tasks.
This type of supervisor has no trust in their team, and is afraid to delegate responsibilities, therefore having to constantly oversee their workers.
This type of management style often doesn’t suit the employer or the employees; the employer feels overworked and stressed out because they never have enough time to complete their own workload, which is due to the fact that instead of focusing on high level tasks and goals for the future, they involve themselves in the minutiae of everyday tasks.
The employees feel suffocated when they are micromanaged; they realise that their boss doesn’t trust them and doesn’t feel they are responsible enough to manage their own work.
When managers are open to the fact that their staff will make mistakes, they alleviate themselves from the micromanaging responsibility, freeing up their own time and empowering their staff.
Leaders who are invested in preventing mistakes often create systems which their employees have to follow to the tee.
This creates an office environment akin to an assembly line, where workers follow precise directions to complete each and every task.
While this system is beneficial in certain scenarios, it is not in others.
This type of leadership style does not foster any innovation, creative thinking or ideas.
The workers are not allowed to think for themselves, just simply follow procedures.
By encouraging your employees to think outside the box, utilise trial and error and make mistakes along the way, you will encourage innovation and positive change in your company.
When workers are afraid that making a mistake will hurt their career, they may hide their errors or attempt to make corrections themselves.
This is a potential for a disaster, when errors get hidden under the rug, but end up causing more problems than if they were addressed and properly fixed right away.
The benefit of letting your team members know that they are free to make mistakes is that they will not be scared to alert you if and when that occurs.
This will create a team that is honest, open and not afraid to communicate!
Head of Training and Development
(Image by Dollarphotoclub)
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.