3 Tips for Teaching Employees to Overcome Mistakes

Only 13% of employees are engaged at work according to Gallup. Not completely understanding daily tasks or lacking interest in projects can be one of the many factors for the myriad of mistakes employees make. The truth is, no matter who you are, mistakes will happen. They aren’t fun and no one loves dealing with the repercussions, but how you or your employees choose to approach the solution can make all the difference. Consider mistakes as an opportunity for growth. How a leader guides employees through errors as well as how that leader solves their own can make all the difference in a team dynamic.

Learn from the mistake

As Lifehacker suggests, making forgiveness a part of the daily routine is pivotal to handling those larger, more impactful errors:

You’re not the first person to make a major error. Look at the failures of the people you look up to, and you’ll realize it’s all a part of the process. The greatest of the greats was a human too, and they most likely had more than a few “whoopsies” in their lifetime.”

Tweet This: “The greatest of greats was a human too, and they most likely had more than a few “whoopsies”…”

Don’t kid yourself; you’ve been in the hot seat before and it wasn’t fun. That said, you can probably remember the repercussions as well as how the issue was solved. If handled correctly, that same error was never once made again. That is the learning that an employee needs. Solving those smaller issues quickly and with little emotion makes the larger issues easier to approach. That’s the trust employees need to have in leadership. The more trust, the more innovation.

Owning the mistake

According to a study, 70% of decisions we make will be wrong. Remind your employee not to be defensive when a problem does occur rather, take time to analyze what went wrong. Don’t let the error be the focus of any following correspondence. That will encourage defensiveness and being defensive not only wastes time and money but distracts from the solution.

Tweet This: 70% of the decisions we make will be wrong. Learn to forgive error, like this:

This is an opportune time to lead example. There always has to be give and take. It is easier to own up to leadership when those who manage the team are aware of their own failings. Leaders who are defensive are generally rated as less effective on measures like self-awareness, communication, adaptability and ability to meet business objectives.

Defensiveness… hinders leaders’ ability to learn and, as a result, their success. The researchers looked at feedback that 134 leaders received from their managers and found that defensive leaders were generally rated as less effective on measures including self-awareness, communication, adaptability, and ability to meet business objectives.” – Shana Lebowitz (@ShanaDLebowitz), Business Insider

Fix the mistake

Once all issues are laid out on the table and blame is accepted, move on to the solution. Remind your employee that while everyone does make mistakes, owning up and fixing the mistake is the most responsible thing to do. Fully explain what needs to be done to right the wrong, then ask the employee to add input. Ask questions that demand answers.

  • What can I, as your manager, do to eliminate the chance of this happening again?
  • Is there a way your team can support you to avoid this happening in the future?
  • Is there a part of your job or daily tasks that you are confused about?
  • Are there any tools that you believe could help you do your job better?

Tweet This: Next time your employee makes a mistake, try this approach:

A study found 44% of employees report they didn’t understand the change they were being asked to make. When the approach is one-sided and lacks interaction, the employee loses a valuable step in the process of learning. It is important to help guide your employee to the fix as well as making he or she an integral piece in actualizing the solution. There may be a reason as to why the mistake happened in the first place, and if the right conversation takes place, avoiding recurrence is far more plausible.

Tweet This: 44% of employees report not understanding changes they’re asked to make. Try this when leading change:

Forbes found that 51% of employees said they would rather have had their employer compliment them, point out the wrong and ending once again with a compliment. Some may know this as the “sandwich” method. It might be difficult to find in a stressed time to find the positives, but remember, there’s a reason that you chose to continue working with this employee. Be stern, don’t belittle and make the conversation a two way street. Your employee’s engagement and dedication is on the line as well as the team who leans on he or she. This method will have your employee leaving the meeting encouraged and ready to move forward to success.

Managing, mentoring and training teams is difficult. When you add in organizing the paperwork and compliance concerns of employee mistakes, the stress only heightens. Considering the ways you can curb mistakes before they happen is important. Increase productivity and efficiency with Visibility Software’s learning management system, Cyber Train, so employees are well-trained and engaged, keeping mistakes are kept at a minimum.

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