As a manager there are often times when people make mistakes and while it can be very frustrating, it is important for team members not to feel that frustration and to think that these mistakes are acceptable. The same goes with customers. In step four of Bringing Out the Best in People McGinnis says that it is critical to allow those who work with you to make mistakes without making them feel like what they have done is a fatal error and causing them to either shut down or to quit trying entirely. Some would say that making mistakes now will lead to fewer mistakes in the future. Take a look at this video that goes into a little explanation about this particular topic.
Many times people are afraid to make mistakes because they don’t want to upset their boss, or they don’t want to make a negative impression on someone. This is a misconceived notion because there is no way to learn without making mistakes and taking a different route the next time. When we are listening to our customers and our employees we will hear them do or say things that aren’t what we want them to do and this is where strong leadership is critical.
As a leader, it is important that you allow for people to make errors and realize that they are not going to be terminated, punished, or make to feel less important because they made those mistakes. A very easy way to do this is to just ask them what their understanding was of the goal or task at hand. When allowing them to explain what their thought process behind it was, you will soon find that during their explanation they will explain where they went wrong without even knowing, and you then have the chance to really step in and correct their misstep.
This approach works well both with employees and with customers to help fix misunderstandings and help to resolve them for future occurences as well. Remember, its not failure to make a mistake, it’s learning.