People Mess Up, How Do You Respond?

People Mess Up, How Do You Respond?

Leadership can be frustrating. It can be aggravating to manage people because we aren’t perfect and the people that we work with aren’t perfect.

How do we handle situations when people mess up or fall short of an expectation?

When learning to lead and manage people, there are so many books you can read. However, at the end of the day, the best way to learn is through on-the-job training and experience.

Criticizing vs. Coaching

When I was starting Compete Every Day the way I tried to manage our team was not efficient because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was learning and testing things to see what worked and what didn’t.

Mistakes would happen and every time something happened I would have an opportunity to criticize the individual or look for a way to coach them up. I could get upset with them or ask them questions and figure out how we could avoid that in the future.

When we were having some issues with inventory, the simple question was, “What can we do to simplify the process?” Then we would formulate and compile ideas and start implementing the systems we came up with.

Instead of getting upset with the team, it was better for me to:

  • Ask questions.
  • Look for ways I could offer guidance.
  • Modify the process to make sure the same mistake didn’t happen in the future.

Mistakes Happen

Whether you are a global billion-dollar company or a local mom-and-pop shop, mistakes will happen. How our team responds is one thing, but as leaders, it falls to us to set the tone of how mistakes will be handled.

Sometimes a mistake is made because an ethical line was crossed that may damage your company or brand. In that situation, a harder conversation and perhaps some stern criticism would be called for.

However, the majority of the time most mistakes are an opportunity to coach your team up.  It’s very possible they made the mistake because they weren’t coached well enough in the first place. 

Maybe they didn’t get enough details about what they needed to get done or how to handle the job they were given. Then they messed up, not from inability, but because they simply didn’t know better.

Proactive Leadership

This week, remember that your team is going to make mistakes. Decide today if you are going to get upset or will instead look for opportunities to say, “How can I coach you up during this process to be better?”

Also, take that opportunity to be proactive and coach up other people in the same role.  That way they don’t make the same mistake.

Leadership is about developing people, so look for those opportunities today!

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