Not everything goes perfectly all the time – no matter where you are. In work or in life, every day is full of new unanticipated challenges. The only thing we can control is our reaction and response. When your product, project plan or even business plan fails, it’s hard to accept, but it happens every day.
With failure comes a unique opportunity for learning and growth. Breakthrough ideas and successes would not be possible without failure. So – what do you do, how do you react and respond? What can you learn from the experience?
Below are our tips for turning failure into a learning experience with a positive outcome.
Seems simple but quite often, it’s not considered. For many managers, the instinct is to just fix it, do it themselves. However, this doesn’t help the employee at all. How can they learn if they do not understand where the project went wrong? Yes, this requires more time and effort, but it produces a greater return in the end. Approach your team members with a positive solution- oriented attitude. Work together to understand the root cause of the problem and the path forward. It will require give and take but this level of collaboration will help all team members involved, including the manager.
Collaboration does not mean coming up with a list of tasks for the employee or project team members to complete. Instead, encourage open conversation. Employees should not be afraid to question or offer different concepts or ideas. It is the responsibility of the manager to schedule time with the team for this open dialogue. This shows you value each employee’s perspective and are open to differing, even opposing views or opinions. And believe it or not, this will actually deliver a more efficient and productive result. When the employee feels heard, he or she will also be motivated by being part of the solution.
Carefully choose your words. The way you talk to team members will set the tone and can easily put employees on the defensive. For example: “The project is off track and we have missed several key deadlines. Let’s sit down together to understand the root cause and re-evaluate the project plan to get the project back on track” will work much better than “You’ve missed several deadlines. How do you plan to fix this? You will need to work extra hours to get the project back on track.” The second approach will isolate and overload the employee and clearly is a demotivator.
Truvelop is continually adding more tips and resources to our blog and Knowledge Center to provide managers with suggestions on how to best communicate with, motivate, and develop their most valuable assets – their people.