A mistake is when someone makes a bad decision resulting in a negative outcome. A “mistake” does not include a deliberate act of malice or insubordination.
So when a well-intentioned employee makes a mistake consider the following coaching steps (LEARN acronym):
- Listen—allow the employee to tell the entire story and express his or her feelings.
- Evaluate—encourage the employee to self-evaluate the bad decision and coach for future improvement.
- Agree—come to a mutual understanding about how future similar situations might be handled.
- Recognize—if the employee took a calculated risk or initiative, be sure to recognize and reinforce those positive behaviors.
- Notice Need—try to determine what the individual may need to hear from you so he or she can move forward with only a bruised ego and not a destroyed ego.