When Employees Fail

You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.
-Paul Brown

There are two experiences every leader should be able to remember in vivid detail.

Remember the time you came to you boss with your head held low. You underperformed, you didn’t give your best or you made an incredibly stupid mistake. You were angry with yourself and spent every minute prior dreading the conversation. You imagined every possible outcome and assumed the worst to be an inevitability.

Then the opposite happened. You were encouraged instead of berated. The shortcoming was noted, and then overshadowed by an impassive exploration of how to make it right. They reminded you of why they hired you in the first place and all the success you’ve since had. They reminded you of what you already knew: You are a talented success story who occasionally makes mistakes.

Now remember the time when your worst assumptions were realized. You were informed in detail of how disappointed they were, what huge mistake you just made and everything else you could do nothing about. Their frustration was overt and their lack of confidence thinly veiled. They reminded you of what you already knew: You are an unqualified failure who occasionally gets lucky.

What was each scenario’s net result on your behavior?

How we treat our employees when they fail is a filter through which they will interpret every subsequent interaction. If one of your employees read this article, which story would you be?