Making mistakes is an unavoidable part of risk-taking. Without taking risks, it your business cannot grow. However, employee mistakes can be a challenge for you as a leader, especially when the mistakes affect your own productivity as well as the team’s productivity. Fortunately, when handled appropriately, employee mistakes can result in growing opportunities and happier employees.
Here are a few tips on dealing with employee mistakes in a fair but effective way:
Identifying the Type of Mistake
The first step in dealing with a mistake is to identify the type of mistake you are dealing with. Is it a minor or a major mistake? Also, is the mistake a one time blunder or is an often repeated mistake?
Investigating the Mistake
After identifying the mistake, avoid jumping to conclusions and perform a fair investigation instead. A good leader understands that mistakes are part of learning and will first listen before making a judgment.
Talking To the Employee/Employees Involved
Talking to the employee or employees involved is one way of investigating the issue objectively and will give you a better perspective on how to take the next step. It will also helpemployees understand what they did wrong and help them take responsibility for the mistake.
Be clear about the impact of the error or mistake but refrain from being rude or abrasive when doing so. Admit that mistakes are a way of life and let them know that you still have confidence in them and reinforce your commitment to them as a leader.
Mapping out a Plan
As a leader, it is your obligation to give directions and to solve problems. Therefore it is your job to make sure that mistakes don’t happen again. Sit down with your employees and map out a plan to help them avoid the mistake in the future and also to help them succeed in future projects.
Following up with encouragement and constructive feedback is important as it makes your employees know that you believe in them. When you have a trusting and open relationship with your employees, dealing with their mistakes becomes easier. Follow ups will not only lead to a good relationship with your team members, but it will also help you identify mistakes before they actually happen.
Looking Into the Bigger Picture
After discovering and addressing an employee mistake, it is important to look into the company’s policy to see if there is something that needs to be changed or reinforced. This is especially true if the mistake keeps recurring among other team members.
In most cases, mistakes happen as a result of poor communication. Poor communication leads to misunderstandings, which in turn lead to avoidable mistakes. Many managers and supervisors are now using time scheduling systems and tools to avoid communication problems that come with time scheduling conflicts and other administrative difficulties. A time clock is a good example of a scheduling tool that will not only improve communication in the workplace; but also back up employee time records for future references.