You screwed up. You did. Repeatedly. A lot, in fact. So have I. Repeatedly. You team, members have screwed up.

And it’s OK.

The reality is that everyone makes mistakes.

In all honesty, it doesn’t bother me that much if one of my team members makes a mistake. Mistakes are inevitable. It DOES bother me if that team member keeps making the same mistake over and over – or if the mistake is a result of an attitude issue or plain, old-fashioned laziness.

However, the mistake could be a sign that my team member is struggling. There may be things going on behind the scenes that I don’t know about. The mistake could have even have been my fault – I didn’t keep the team member in the loop, or didn’t properly give him or her the resources (time, personnel, money, etc…) to succeed.

Long story short, the only way to know is to talk about it. Don’t accept what are obviously excuses or deflections, but listen – really listen – so that you’re sure that you understand what’s going on. Then offer instruction, if needed – absolution, if it really wasn’t their fault – apology, if it was actually YOUR fault – and correction (or even discipline) if it was caused by ego, attitude, or a lack of effort. Don’t add another screwup to the situation by failing to address the issue. You owe it to your team to help them grow… 

“Failure is an event, not a person.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

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