Everyone makes mistakes. As a manager, you move your team members through failures to help them become better employees and individuals. Addressing errors, especially big ones, can be challenging for everyone. Confrontation is as uncomfortable for you as facing their mistakes is for your employees.
A poor manager dismisses an error with a judgement about the employee. He’ll say something like “that was stupid” or “why do we hire people who can’t figure things out?” This disregard for his role in his employee’s failure is pure laziness. We’re better managers than that.
Helping your employees grow starts with understanding their thinking. If you learn their rationale and take a moment to see why they used it, you are well positioned to help adjust their thinking to reflect the choice you would prefer in the future.
When a mistake happens, ask your employee about their thought process. Try requests like:
“Help me understand why you made this choice?”
“Walk me through your thought process in this situation.”
“Describe the reasoning that brought you to this choice.”
If you end each of those with “I want to see the logic that got us here and work with you to make a better choice in the future” you’ll give context to why you’re asking. Your employee will see you investing in them to help them improve. They will also see that you’re not divorcing yourself of the outcome of their error.
This is the kind of management that builds effective, self-learning teams that make you shine as a leader and your organization win in the marketplace.