Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of managers at La Estancia de Cafayate (LEC).
is the beautiful community where I live in Argentina. My mandate was to offer some pearls of teamwork wisdom.
Some people seem to think being right is very important and being wrong is a sin. I decided to take that concept head-on with the following comments. As you read my comments keep in mind this was for a group of Argentinian managers.
Of course I presented it in my less-than-perfect Spanish.
Mistakes (Not Failures)
Thomas Edison was an inventor in the United States. His most famous invention was the electric light bulb.
He worked nearly 2 years to find a practical way to produce light from electrical energy. It's reported that he found 10,000 ways that didn't work. Finally he and his team produced the first practical light bulb in 1879.
So he made 10,000 mistakes before he succeeded! Were all those mistakes failures?
Each of those mistakes taught him something. He could not have succeeded without making them, and learning from them.
My point in relating this story is, making a mistake is not a sin, so long as you learn from it. Making the same mistake twice means you didn't learn from the first one - that's a sin!
If you're doing things, you will make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes, and improve your methods.
As leaders, remember this. Your team members will make mistakes. Part of your responsibility as a leader is to help them learn from their mistakes.
Coach them on how to do the job better next time. That's much more effective than just criticizing them.
Simply criticizing them without helping them improve is the definition of "negative criticism". Brian Tracy, a coach I worked with years ago, said "Negative criticism of a person has about the same effect as smashing a malfunctioning machine with a hammer". It's unlikely to improve results!
We want always better results. Right?
So...learn from your mistakes.
...Help your team members learn from their mistakes.
Mistakes are steps toward success. They're not failures, unless you make the same one twice!
I'm sure I speak for the whole owner community in saying "Thank you" to all the employees of LEC for the clubhouse, spa, landscape, golf course and all the services. You make this the beautiful place it is.
For my readers here, I didn't really need to include the last paragraph. I think it's important, though, for the overall flavor of the presentation. Would you like to use any of this for a team you're responsible for (you're welcome to do that)? If you do, be sure to thank them for whatever they do.
Not planning to use this material? Thank them anyway - it can only improve things!
Do you make mistakes? If you're doing things, I'm sure you do.
Do your employees make mistakes? If they're doing things (and I'm quite sure you see to it that they are), they no doubt make mistakes. How do you handle that?
Send me your thoughts and impressions about this article. Care to discuss the concept of learning from mistakes?
What's am I doing right with
The Unity Community?
What mistakes have I made
The Unity Community?
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