Should we encourage mistakes on our team?
Are honest mistakes allowed on your team? Do people fear failing to the point that they become paralyzed at decision time? Are mistakes treated as opportunities for development?
John Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward, stated that honest mistakes shouldactually be encouraged, not just tolerated. Think of it this way...if people on your teamare not making mistakes regularly, whatare they doing?The unfortunate reality for most teams consists of people so afraid of failing that they opt to do nothing rather than taking a chance for success.
What exactly is an honest mistake? This question is often asked during my leadership training sessions. I answer the question with an example. If my son spills his milk at the dinner table, I really cannot get angry because I too will also eventually spill my milk. However, if my son is throwing his football at the dinner table and spills his milk, it is no longer an honest mistake. If we do something we know we shouldn't and a mistake results, we should focus on the undesired behavior rather than the end result. Make sense?
As leaders, we must learn to focus on the behavior first and the result second. This is very difficult in our myopic (pay-at-the-pump) culture of living for the now and not for the future.We live by a flawed corporate culture thatmortgages the very future of theorganizations we serve. This is driven by an insatiable need for short-term success like stock price and quarterly earning results.Great courses teach leaders at all levels to focus on key moments for development. The best leaders use honest mistakes as learning opportunities and create a culture of positive risk taking for the team. People are not afraid to fail as long as the attempt is honest and in the benefit of the organization.