Appropriately Working with an Employee Who Makes a Mistake

Appropriately Working with an Employee Who Makes a Mistake | Staffing Texas

As a manager, there will be times when you must deal with an employee who makes a mistake. Because nobody is perfect, occasional errors will happen.

As a result, you must know how to handle the employee who makes a mistake effectively. How you approach the situation impacts how the employee reacts.

Your goal is to have the employee learn from their mistake and avoid making a similar one in the future. Using mistakes as teachable moments helps strengthen your team.

Follow These Guidelines to Work with an Employee Who Makes a Mistake Appropriately 

Determine the Root Cause of the Mistake

Consider whether the employee had a one-time lapse in judgment or something greater contributed to the mistake. If there are deeper reasons why the error was made, work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This can prevent a similar mistake from happening again.

Minimize Unconscious Biases

Avoid letting unconscious biases impact how you respond to the employee who made a mistake. You do not want to react differently based on the employee’s gender, race, nationality, or other personal characteristics.

Take a few minutes to consider whether you are basing your expectations on something other than the employee’s work. Then, compose a professional reaction to the error.

Consider Your Words

Do not react emotionally toward an employee who made a mistake. Negative feelings can disempower the employee. They also can cause you to regret your actions.

Instead, take a few breaths and decide how you want to handle the situation. For instance, think about whether to sit down and talk with the employee. This depends on whether the mistake happened only once or multiple times and how serious the impact was on the business.

If you choose to sit down with the employee, find something positive to say first. Otherwise, the employee may believe they are being let go and not listen to what you say.

Use words that are direct and supportive. You want to build up the employee, encourage them to listen to you, and fix the problem without damaging your relationship.

Begin with Appreciation

Start the conversation with how much you appreciate the employee. Perhaps they work hard, bring positive energy to the work environment, and perform their work well. This encourages the employee to listen to you.

Avoid ending your thoughts with the word “but.” Acknowledging what the employee is doing well is not conditional. Therefore, it needs to stand alone.

Express Curiosity

Ask the employee to help you understand what happened. This encourages them to remain open while explaining the situation.

Ask supportive questions to understand further what happened. Then, work with the employee to resolve the issue. Include what the employee learned and how they will prevent making a similar mistake in the future.

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