The importance of making mistakes

One of the most difficult challenges associated with running and growing a business is managing staff. Specifically, good leaders know how to get the best out of their employees. They know how to take a person’s raw talent and facilitate their professional growth. A big part of this is allowing each staff member the freedom and space to grow. Often, this means letting go of the reins a little bit.

As a business leader, it is natural to care deeply for the integrity and performance of your company. As a result, it’s easy to become obsessive and controlling about almost every internal function. Employing people to perform specific functions within a company is essential for any company to scale as it grows, but it does mean that business leaders need to know when to simply let the people they hired do what they were hired to do.

Furthermore, for business leaders that want to allow their employees to grow, it is imperative that they give those employees room to possibly make mistakes. But how do you do this without potentially compromising the quality of your company’s output?

Good business leaders will identify areas within their company in which there is room for mistakes to happen, and isolate others where there simply is not. Obviously mistakes are always costly, but in some instances they are more costly than others. In areas where mistakes can be seriously detrimental to a company’s best interests, it makes sense to maintain a level of senior oversight. In less sensitive areas, employees should be given space to take initiative, and try new things. An environment without this sort of freedom will often end up stifling employees, and is unlikely to facilitate any meaningful growth, which in itself can become a serious problem for any company in the long run.

The idea of making mistakes in the working environment is one which makes almost every working person cringe. But a good leader will understand that mistakes are inevitable, and necessary. Therefore, it’s important to manufacture an environment which allows these mistakes to happen in the least costly way. Furthermore, it is important to create a culture where employees can make mistakes, and learn from them. Mistakes can be valuable learning experiences. If employees feel like it’s OK to make mistakes occasionally, then will be more comfortable with taking responsibility for them when they happen, and in turn, be more likely to learn from them. If employees feel comfortable taking responsibility for their mistakes, then not only will they be more likely to learn from them, but they will also be more likely to actively seek a positive solution when they happen.

One of the most valuable take-outs from mistake making, is learning how to fix mistakes. Furthermore, making mistakes will teach employees how to avoid making them again. The value that lies in making mistakes far outweighs the potential damage they can cause, as long as they are made in a controlled environment. It is the responsibility of senior management to ensure that their employees work in an environment where mistakes can happen, and they can grow from them.

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