Mistakes are not failures. So why do we treat them as failures?
Too many businesses experience a toxic culture of perfectionism, where mistakes are treated as the end of the world. Instead of creating valuable learning experiences from which to grow, perfectionism causes more harm than good. You may have seen or experienced the results of perfectionism:
- Second-guessing all your work and actions and feeling self-conscious
- Getting too caught up on details that don’t matter… and nothing gets done
- Relying heavily on others for instructions before starting a project
- Quitting because of the pressure to get everything just right
As a leader, allowing your team—and yourself—to make mistakes can have more benefits than pursuing perfection.
Benefits of Making Mistakes in the Workplace
When you begin treating mistakes as a way to learn and grow, something incredible happens. Your team will be more motivated and excited, your company culture will improve, and you may even experience innovations that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible! Here are a few of the top benefits of making mistakes.
Establish a Culture of Learning
Mistakes happen most often when an employee doesn’t know a process or how to do something. Giving them the freedom to make mistakes will develop a company culture where employees feel encouraged to learn new skills. Not only will they make fewer mistakes down the road, but they’ll feel confident in their job and have a higher overall employee satisfaction.
Getting the right talent on your team takes work off your plate and enables you to be CEO—not CEO, social media manager, email marketer, and developer all wrapped into one. From the CEO seat, you can focus on the bigger picture, not worry about sizing social media images.
Create a Happier Workforce
Nothing diminishes morale like the constant threat of punishment for making a mistake on the job. Getting rid of that threat improves employee happiness and creates a workforce that’s excited to work together and collaborate. You’ll see productivity spike!
Innovation can’t happen without the freedom to make mistakes along the way. Encouraging your employees to try new things, learn, and experiment will foster a culture of innovation, which can have huge benefits for your business down the road.
How to Break Out of Perfectionism
If you’re reading through this blog post and realize that your business has a culture of perfectionism, don’t stress too much. You can do some simple things that will help you avoid perfectionism and help your team feel empowered to learn and grow.
- Don’t take over when someone on your team makes a mistake. Do give them the chance to fix the mistake on their own—it’s a learning opportunity, after all.
- Don’t expect new employees to know everything right away. Do give them time to acclimate, learn, and ask questions about your process and business.
- Don’t fire someone the moment a mistake is made. Do dig into the issue to find out whether it can be resolved, and if so, what steps need to be taken.
- Don’t get outwardly mad or frustrated when someone makes a mistake. Do be patient and have a discussion with that employee about what went wrong.
- Don’t hover over or micro-manage your employees. Do give them autonomy to do work their own way, and offer advice or suggestions for improvements when appropriate.
- Don’t question or ignore their recommendations or advice. Do solicit honest feedback and opinions when appropriate.
Your business is only as strong as your team. So, giving your employees every opportunity to learn, grow, and innovate will help your business thrive in the long run. Get off the perfectionism train and embrace mistakes—you won’t regret it.
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