Failure is never fun.

People and organizations feed off and are rewarded for their successes. But while achievements and victories merit recognition, much can be learned from mistakes and failures. Here are three reasons why:

Failures can be good for business.

Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that businesses that are more accepting of mistakes have better employee performance and engagement. The challenge is to convince your managers to think about failure in the right way. Teach them how to fail intelligently and help others to do the same.

  • Understand how the blame game works. A culture that makes it okay to admit and report on failures can – and should – coexist with high performance standards. Leaders need to know how to determine which mistakes are truly blameworthy versus those that are treated as such when in fact, they were learning opportunities. In one study, up to 90 percent of respondents fell into the latter category.

People learn from failures.

Learning does not occur only when people immediately find the right answers. Mistakes should be treated as teachable moments for all involved.

  • Build a culture of growing from failure, from the ground up. Allow learners to fail during training programs. Then, help them understand how their situation can be turned into success. Innovation comes with a high level of risk, so if people are punished for errors, they are less likely to take creative risks in the future.

Failures drive success.

Turn failure into success – and make your team members and your organization stronger as a result, by:

  • Providing immediate feedback: The brain learns best by being “caught in the act.” When an employee makes a mistake, provide feedback ASAP.
  • Staying positive: Give as much positive feedback to a team member who has erred as you do negative.
  • Asking for perspective: When an employee fails, ask for their perspective on the situation. Hearing their reasoning will help you understand where they went wrong – and it could spark a new and better idea.
  • Offering redemption: Give employees a chance to redeem themselves. When people fail, they tend to work extra hard to avoid making the same mistake again. The reason many top companies are so successful is because they have built cultures that encourage people to take risks and grow from their mistakes.

As you build your staffing or workforce development strategy, consider a partnership with the experts at StaffMasters. We have served clients throughout the Carolinas for more than three decades – specializing in administrative, light industrial and contact center talent, as well as professional recruiting and executive searches. Contact us today to learn more.


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