Effective Teams make the Biggest Mistakes

fortune cookies stating teams will make mistakes

It is impossible for teams to avoid mistakes or failures despite the best efforts of team leaders. However, failures can be turned into advantages depending on the approach of the leader. Great teams make mistakes and learn from them.

Did you know some of the most effective teams are the ones that make the biggest mistakes?

Failures are not always bad – they are inevitable. They can even be good! But sometimes taking an in-depth look at our mistakes is uncomfortable and makes us feel inadequate. The way we react to those situations speaks volumes about resilience and character. 

team frustrated over mistakesIn this blog post we are sharing how effective teams learn from their mistakes and why it’s ok to make them in the first place. We also share some things team leaders should never do when it comes to mistakes.  A great leader is one who will take responsibility and accountability and own the mistakes.  This will enable everyone to learn from them.

Leaders serve as role models and should demonstrate how to take the loss in a graceful way. Ignoring failures or mistakes is one of the worst things a team leader can do. Not addressing the issue will ensure it will happen again. 

Mistakes can provide us with valuable teaching moments. Get together with team members and  deconstruct what went wrong. The point of this exercise is to address the situation in a collaborative and productive manner. The team will learn as a group to prevent similar mistakes from occurring down the road.

Not addressing the mistake can also instill a sense of fear in the team. Some employees who feel like they’re to blame could fear for their job security. Other team members might become averse to taking risks.

How can team leaders turn these into positive experiences and help the team learn from their mistakes? 

Know and understand that failures WILL happen

It’s important to realize and recognize that disappointments will occur at some point in any career.  In order to grow, leaders need to take on new opportunities and those come with new challenges and new potential obstacles. Recognize that pushing yourself to succeed comes with the possibilities of new problems. As Arianna Huffington said “failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success”. You need to view success and failure as two sides of the same coin, and know everything we do will have some element of success and some element of failure in it.

Cultivate a growth mindset

An organization that encourages this mindset is more likely to succeed. A growth mindset can enhance skills and abilities. When this mindset is adopted, setbacks will be viewed as learning experiences and dealing with setbacks will be seen in a new light. Failures will be seen as a positive experience rather than a negative one. 

Learning opportunities result in more success. Challenges are opportunities that push you towards your goals. Good things come when you step outside your comfort zone. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Leaders should plan to strategically produce experimental failures. Even though it might be a  failure, it still holds valuable information. There is nothing wrong with trying to get that winning combination as a team. Use the failures as feedback for the next experiment. In some organizations, they host reviews after an experiment to examine what was learned from the project and what went right and what went wrong. Be open to learning from these experiments and it will serve the team well. 

Create a safe environment for your team where they know it is ok to fail 

Leaders should create a safe culture that fosters creativity and learning. Employees are hungry to learn and they should feel that whatever mistakes they might make won’t affect their position. 

They are responsible for creating the opposite of a shame culture or one that points the finger at each other. Your team should feel comfortable. Keep an open conversation with your team members about what went right or what went wrong. It is important to not blame others when plans don’t go as expected. 

Create a plan for the next time

Evaluate what needs to be done next time to make sure the same mistakes don’t happen again. Perhaps it was a rushed job in order to hit a deadline, or overestimating multitasking abilities.  

If you find an issue you can address with your team, you should. Brainstorm some ideas about how you can prevent these mistakes going forward. It’s great to get ideas and opinions from the entire team. 

Although It is easy to get discouraged when obstacles pop up along the way or when you encounter setbacks, staying positive and sticking to your plan is key!  When leaders are positive, it shows team members hope in those difficult times.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Remember to ask questions instead of jumping into problem solving mode right away.  Let the team explain the situation and follow-up with questions that turn it into a learning experience.  When the team figures out how to learn from the mistake, everyone  begins to learn how to fix mistakes and avoid making similar ones in the future. 

In order to succeed, we must be okay with our failures and move forward from them. It’s critical to instill this belief in your company culture. These failures will teach collaboration, empower team members, and teach them to be resilient. 

Don’t let those mistakes define you and don’t let them control you. Use it to reevaluate your goals and figure out if you’re on the right path to achieve them! 

When we are honest and hold ourselves accountable for our mistakes, we build quality relationships with our team members, we build trust, and we garner respect.

In the moment, failures can feel devastating. If leaders and everyone on the team have adopted a growth mindset and collaborates, valuable lessons will be learned and upsets can be transformed into something greater.

How do you learn from your failures? How do you spin it into something positive? Let us know and leave a comment. 

At NexLevel, we’re experts in building healthy organizations through cohesive teams and engaged employees. We will help you and your employees become the high-performance team you’ve always wanted to be by focusing on collaboration, creativity, culture, and connection. 

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