Nothing is more destructive to the production of my day then to find out that I or one of my team members has made a mistake that will effect a client. Seriously, I get physically ill with this when it happens. And the reality is, it does happen. No matter how hard I try to safe guard it from happening with processes, planning and communication… it still happens from time to time.
It’s easy when it’s someone else, to point a finger, blame the team or even react negatively. Especially if I know it’s going to look bad on me. BUT as a leader the truth is the buck stops here.
It’s my name. Period.
So how do I handle this with my team? I am sure, like me, you have likely experienced clients who did not handle mistakes in a way that made you feel empowered to ensure they would not happen again, but instead blamed, out lashed and erupted with emotion and/or anger. Albeit this is often what we feel when someone makes a mistake that makes us look incompetent. I totally get the desire to respond this way AND I know it’s the worse possible option if you want to progress forward and create a safe environment for people to grow, learn and do better.
Fear / intimidation / threats and over all negativity actually intensifies the opportunity for errors.
Where as GRACE creates space for success.
There is no way, to work at the level we do, with multiple clients, ever moving variables around tasks and continually changing process without there being mistakes, oops, errors. We make them, our clients make them and our team will make them. How you handle them will actually determine the type of leader and business owner you are.
Can I just say: Handle them with Grace… because Grace is something we all need from time to time. Sometimes I choose to have Grace today, simply because I am aware I might need it tomorrow.
Grace says: yes there is an issue here, yes there is a solution, and yes we can address, resolve and move forward.
What Grace isn’t: it isn’t ignoring, becoming passive aggressive or minimizing the mistake.
When you create a space for Grace to be real in the businesses, teams and relationships you are in, what you are doing is recognizing that no one is perfect. That perfection is not attainable but process is.
Mistakes are shining a light on 3 things:
1. A broken process
2. Ineffective communication
3. Team working out of their strengths
I tend to address them in that order as well… if the process is correct and the communication was effective then I look at the person, their strengths and aptitude toward the execution of their role. When mistakes happen on my watch it is as much my fault as it is the person who executed the mistake. Therefor, I want to correct the root of the issue not slap a bandaid on the symptom of the pain. This will be done by remembering that Grace is needed for us all to grow, learn and move forward after a mistake has happened.
So I encourage you to create space for Grace in your environment, even if its just for yourself.