Nuts-and-Bolts: Feeling Safe to Fail (Part 2)

Last week we discussed the need for employees to feel safe to fail in the workplace, and how management can create a positive environment in light of an employee making a mistake. This week, we will further discuss the types of errors that occur in the workplace, and how management can navigate through them for the overall success of the organization.

To break it down, there are mainly two types of failure on the job: Simple Failures and Complex Failures. (more…)

Nuts-and-Bolts: Feeling Safe to Fail (Part 1)

“Your attitude towards failure determines your altitude after failure.” – John C. Maxwell

Failure, like success, is a part of life. And it is most definitely plays a huge role in the workplace. However, rather than viewing failure as a setback to the success of the organization, there are ways to use failures for the benefit of your business by learning how to “fail up”–towards success. In doing so, you can create a workplace where managers and employees alike feel safe to fail because there is always the opportunity to use failures as a stepping stool towards success.

In the workplace, failures are expected. Much like trial-and-error, we often need to fail in order to succeed. In the event an employee commits an error, it is management’s job to foster an environment that doesn’t punish failure, but rather coaches through failure–thus, “failing UP.” Employees are often punished for their mistakes, rather than mentored through them; punishing failure does not lead to overall success. By punishing employees for making mistakes, managers can unintentionally create a hostile environment for their employees, who, in turn, lose respect for their management team which can lead to a laundry list of negative effects for the organization. It is indeed important for employees to be held accountable for their failures, but it is just as important to encourage them to learn from these setbacks and teach them how to not make the same errors again. Instead, teach employees that while they are fully responsible and accountable for their own errors, reassure them that there is a safety net of mentoring and training–an opportunity to learn and grow towards success from such mistakes. In a nutshell, employees need to feel that it is safe to fail in their workplace.

Employees and managers alike wish to work in an environment where they feel empowered and respected. As managers, it is our responsibility to create a safety net for our employees so that when things go awry at the office, employees don’t dread “the talk” with management, but rather look forward to learning about their specific mistakes and have the opportunity to be mentored by the more experienced members of the company. Such treatment of “failures” in the workplace build stronger Manager-Employee relationships that, in turn, build a stronger and more successful organization. Helping your employees feel safe to “fail up” is a win-win for everyone.

Join us next week as we discuss the specific types of errors and failures that can occur in the workplace, and how managers can handle them with respect and dignity for the benefit of both parties.