How Mistake Tolerant Managers Build Creative Teams

Mistake Tolerant Managers Know That Mistakes Make People Creative

The mistake tolerant managers are failure-tolerant leaders.  They accept that mistakes are part and parcel of success in the workplace.  You probably disagree with that.  But whether you agree or not, there are great benefits that come out of mistakes. 

It is not about encouraging reckless and incompetent mistakes or sloppy work habits.  And, it is not to say that you should not reprimand employees who repeatedly make careless mistakes.  It is about distinguishing what you consider as reckless or incompetent mistakes.

I’m not a proponent of reckless and incompetent mistakes or sloppy work habits.  And, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t reprimand employees who repeatedly make reckless mistakes.  I’m saying that, distinguish what you consider as reckless or incompetent mistakes.

Good Employees Make Mistakes

If your staff make mistakes because they are pushing the boundaries, that is not reckless.  That is how they are going to create new things and improve.  

Understand that creativity cannot happen in an environment where mistakes are not allowed. Creativity is the most significant causality of fear of errors in the workplace. 

When people face the fear of making mistakes or failure, they don’t try new ways of doing things.  They don’t want to do anything that can lead to criticism, censorship, or even excessive punishment. 

Managing a group of people who stick to the rules and procedures is easy and fun.  But most motivated employees are interested.  They question everything, including their daily repetitive tasks.   

They do not want to be constrained by narrow rules and procedures.  So a failure tolerant leader will find a way to allow them to do things that go beyond their job descriptions or the narrow rules.

They should have the option of following the rules or taking risks if necessary.  They must have the freedom to interrupt the status quo and improvise things if needed.

People become more resourceful when they work in an environment where experimenting is allowed.  That may sound controversial, but it is necessary.

So as a manager, you have to create that workplace atmosphere where mistakes can happen.  That environment can and will yield productive errors.

Encourage Experimenting

Yes, there are areas of the business where a zero-risk tolerance for making mistakes is a must. 

And mistakes can indeed be costly and damaging to the business.

But you can still find ways to build an environment for experimenting where people can make mistakes that are not detrimental to the business.

Take the heat, if a member of your staff makes an honest mistake that cost the company money.  Analyze the error but don’t blame the person.  Part of your job is to protect your people when they screw up. 

Yes, protecting your staff can be painful and risky at times.  But it is necessary if it is in the best interest of the team.  Because if you do not shield them, it can damage your relationship with team members.  

Also, it makes you look like a leader who does not care about your staff members.  Mistakes are the pathway to progress and excellent benefits.

The  following shows that mistakes can:

1. Point you and your team in a more creative direction

2. Show you where the individual passion is and where it is not

3. Tell a lot about the skill levels and the capabilities of your team 

4. Help the team to understand what works and what is not

5. Get you and your team to make better choices and decisions 

6. Prompt you to experiment and reveal new insights

7. Suggest new options available that had not been considered before 

8. Send signals that the standard operating procedures need changing

9. Wake you up when you are not listening to your staff  

The list of benefits is endless. But remember to give your team the freedom to work without fear of making mistakes.  It will remove the need for covering up mistakes.  And provide them with the confidence to become more transparent.

Mistakes create learning opportunities. Many of us have benefited a lot from our own mistakes and others failures. And I hope many failure-tolerant leaders agree.

More read: Why Good Managers Are Very Rare?

Do you have any thoughts regarding this article?  I welcome your comments below.  

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