Can Your Mistakes Be the Catalyst for Strengthening Your Team?

Can Your Mistakes Be the Catalyst for Strengthening Your Team?? 

OK, here's one of those easier-said-than-done things: treat your failures as opportunities and make this a goal for 2024.  

Yeah, Anne, great. Sounds wonderful, but failure stinks!  

It sure does. But consider all the follow-up questions any failure demands. What happened? Why? What training, equipment, processes, and personnel can be altered to eliminate or at least reduce the risk of the same mistake occurring twice?  

Failure is a status-quo disruptor. While we hate to feel comfort give way to stress, sometimes we need it. A mistake or problem can be exactly the right thing for our long-term business health, even though it hurts in the moment.  

Here are some tips on turning your failures and problems into opportunities in 2024: 

• Set a Time Limit on Emotions: There's an emotional jolt with any failure. It happens. We're saddened, angry, and embarrassed. Accept this as the first step in a mini-grieving process. Let those feelings have their moment, but recognize that this guest in your head isn't going to do anything but leave a mess over the long haul. Set a time limit on how long emotions rule your thinking. Don't act in this phase. Recognize that emotion is a motivator but shouldn't be your decider. Logic needs to control the discussion in your head before you take action. 

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• Conduct a Communication Evaluation: Talk to the person who made the mistake. If it's you, consider every input you receive before making the wrong decision. Errors come from a momentary lack of understanding about what was supposed to happen. Why was the understanding incorrect? Did the person have the appropriate skills to carry out the task? If not, should they have that duty, or do they need more training? If they have the skills, what information did they receive or not receive? Be an investigator with any mistake. Don't be judgmental or emotional in the process. Be a fact-gatherer. 

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• Be Empathetic to the One Who Erred: If someone on your team messed up in a big way, you must decide if the mistake is part of a pattern and a shortcoming that can't be overcome or is it an error they can conquer. If the person is worth your continued investment, recognize the error as your chance to build a connection with them. We all feel vulnerable when we are wrong. Let this person know they're not alone and you've made mistakes, too. Talk about the processes in your business and why they're essential. If a process needs to be altered because of the error, let the employee know this was a team error, not an individual mistake. Let them know they are a vital part of the new solution. Appropriately handling an employee error helps build loyalty and team unity. Inappropriate management of mistakes divides a team and leaves individuals wounded and nervous, which diminishes performance.  

• Create a Culture of Owning Your Errors: You're not perfect; neither are your employees. Share some of your errors and mistakes in the past and present, and show that you're not afraid to be accountable to your employees. There's dignity in such openness because it represents a setting aside of ego in favor of product, performance, process, and positivity. A person who owns their errors and isn't disgraced in the process is far more likely to be innovative than a fearful worker. If this attitude is shared, you'll boost your company's potential immensely. You'll also build loyalty and reduce turnover. 

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• Create a Culture of Learning: Some failures are due to a skills gap. Investing in ongoing training and professional development for your team can address this, ensuring everyone has the knowledge and skills needed to perform their tasks effectively. Encourage your employees to ask questions of one another and to always be open to learning new skills. Consider holding a "share day" or a "show-and-tell day" when departments intermingle and learn some of what's happening around them. It will help everyone have a greater perspective of your company and everyone's purpose within it.  

I want to improve things for my family, community, employees, and clients. When failures happen, we can turn them into positives in many ways if we have the right mindset. 

At HireSmart, we aren't just about virtual employees. We're a business success management agency. I would love to discuss how we can help you turn negatives into positives. I enjoy talking shop with fellow business owners. Click here to set up a time at your convenience. 

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