Three Ways to Turn Down the Stress of Mistakes
“Turns out, life’s a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes.” ~Judy Hopps, Zootopia
Mistakes in the workplace can be the source of huge stress. They can slow down productivity, cause rework, and/or create conflict. And right now, as many organizations have to balance the crunch of year-end deadlines with the social demands of the holidays and the unexpected impacts of winter weather, opportunities for mistakes intensify.
Following are three things companies can do to reduce the stress employees feel when mistakes occur.
1. Expect. Unless your workforce is totally robots, mistakes will happen. You can reduce employee stress by giving them tools, including processes and procedures, to counter mistakes that you can anticipate.
2. Accept. Create a culture that supports the idea of learning from mistakes rather than punishing for them. When you can remove the fear, you reduce stress.
3. Learn. Pay attention to “mistake trends” like creating routine time binds. Departments or individuals put others in time binds when they are overly cautious or they fail to properly prioritize. Creating time binds sets the stage for increased levels of mistakes when people have to work too quickly and/or have to ignore checks. You create unnecessary stress when you reduce employee ability to provide quality work.
The organizational attitude about mistakes starts at the top. Is your “mistake culture” fear-based or learning-focused?