We recently talked about Why Your Team Should Be Making Mistakes and discovered five key benefits:
- Mistakes create a more honest, open work environment.
- Mistakes provide more opportunities for learning.
- Mistakes create greater innovation and creativity.
- Mistakes reduce stress AND additional mistakes.
- Mistakes create more employee satisfaction and happiness.
If you haven’t already, check out the full article before reading further.
You may be thinking to yourself, “sure mistakes are okay, but not at the expense of my business.” That’s a fair and reasonable assessment.
We’re not suggesting you throw all caution to the wind and abandon all thoughts of strategy, planning or rational decision-making.
But, there are ways you can encourage risk-taking, without jeopardizing your business. Let’s take a look.
1. Determine where you can make mistakes, with the least consequences.
Take a close look at each area of your business. Assess where you feel comfortable giving your team some experimental freedom — even with some executive oversight.
At the same time, identify where you absolutely can not take risks. For example, any actions that may jeopardize the relationship or trust with a client should be off limits.
2. Set boundaries.
While mistakes are okay, excessive, careless mistakes are not okay. Consider a specific policy or set of rules for making mistakes and how you will deal with them.
For example, you can implement a “first-time” policy, where every first mistake is accepted, and the whole team will endeavor to support and remedy the issue with no negative repercussions.
You will deal with the second and subsequent mistakes (of the same variety) individually.
3. Ensure the same mistake isn’t made again.
Once an employee makes a mistake, take a critical and careful look at what happened.
Moving forward, what safety net can you put in place, so the employee doesn’t make the same mistake again?
Clearly, document what led to the mistake. Ensure all team members learn from the mistake, as well as warning signs, so it doesn’t happen again.
Learning from mistakes is the most important aspect of risk-taking.
4. Manage employee emotions and reactions.
Imagine you’re the head coach of a basketball team and your team is in the final seconds of the championship game.
The game is tied, and the fate of the game rests in the hands of one of your players with two free throw shots to go.
How will your team stay calm, handle the pressure AND perform at their best, if you’ve never put them in high-pressure situations before?
A great leader is also a great coach. Give your team members the tools to effectively manage their emotions and react to negative or high-stress situations, so the situation doesn’t escalate further.
5. Empower your team to try and try again.
Knowledge is power and is the key to smart, informed decision-making. Trying anything for the first time can often lead to failure.
Encourage your team to turn failure on its head and recognize next time they’ll be better equipped and informed for success. Need help? Contact us today!