MANAGING MISTAKES

No matter what type of business you run, mistakes will happen. All employees make mistakes. However, the key to resolving the situation when things don’t go to plan is to manage your team and the actions they take, effectively.

When things go wrong, stop and analyse the situation. How big is the mistake? Is it one that should not have been made but can be rectified? Or did it cost your company hundreds of thousands of pounds?

If a team member makes a mistake, hopefully they will own up to it. If not, you may have to raise the issue with them. The key at this point is to communicate clearly and in a professional manner. There is no point getting angry and shouting at people. Instead you should outline your expectations. Discuss the mistake with your team member and ask them what they think they can do to rectify the situation. Outline that the most important thing right now is to come up with an effective remedy rather than pointing out whose fault it was.

If the mistake is a one-off occurrence, you should outline to your team member that the main thing is to learn from the experience in order to avoid it happening again. If the team member in question has made various mistakes in the past and it is becoming a regular issue, then perhaps it is time to consider getting HR involved. Maybe the individual is making regular mistakes because they aren’t properly qualified for their job or perhaps they just aren’t suited to their current role.

As a manager, you should think about what type of leader you are and what you want to accomplish. Do you want your team members to be scared of you or do you want to encourage them and support their actions? As a manager you can’t be their friend but you can be supportive. A supportive manager will use mistakes as a learning opportunity for the team.

If your firm’s current culture for handling mistakes is not one that encourages learning or growth, it might be time to update your strategy. The best modern businesses use mistakes as an opportunity to step back, look at a process and find a better way of doing things. This type of approach helps to identify best practice, minimise the chances of similar mistakes happening again and may even create a better, more efficient way of managing parts of the business.

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