When you are starting a company. Every decision seems critical and every mistake seems monumental. However, there is one guarantee…you, your co-founders and your employees will make mistakes. Everybody does.
Some mistakes may be BIG and some will be small. Regardless of whether the mistake is big or small you will probably be a bit upset that it happened.
Depending on your company and the job, there could be mistake that has serious consequences. Unfortunately, if you are in business long enough, mistakes will be made that have serious consequences. Dealing with employee errors is a part of being a good manager. If you hired well and trust your employees, then keep in mind that all of us are doing the best we can with the information and knowledge we have. Sometimes we do well and sometimes we don’t do so well. If an employee makes a mistake, your reaction will makes all the difference for you, that employee and the morale of your entire staff.
“It’s great to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure – Bill Gates”
If you overreact and make the person feel bad, fly off the handle, or worse yet, make a rash decision to terminate the person. Your employees will respond by keeping mistakes from you and covering up problems. The trust in your organization and you as a leader will wane and morale will follow.
Most of us grow up thinking mistakes are bad. We view errors as evidence of a basic inability–a deficiency. Rather than looking at mistakes as a problem, we can simply view them as feedback. We can change our thinking about mistakes to recognize that they are learning opportunities for everyone in the organization. You want to set up a culture where it is okay for someone to make an honest mistake. If an employee makes a mistake look at what you might have done to contribute to the mistake. Did you not share some crucial information? Did you not provide the appropriate training?
Model the behavior you want. When you make a mistake own it, share it, share what you learned from it, and encourage others to do the same.
If you allow mistakes to happen, you will inspire people to stretch and take on that next challenge.