How do you as a manager react when one of your employees makes a mistake? I have seen managers who yell, lecture, punish, threaten, and humiliate. After over nine years of working in customer service, I truly believe that most employees are trying to do their best, and they do not make mistakes on purpose. Also, I have come to believe that as long as we have human beings working for us, mistakes will occur.
Therefore, I want to suggest a way for you to “reframe” the concept of a mistake. Most of us think of a “mistake” as “bad” or a “failure.” However, because we are all human beings, there WILL be mistakes in our organizations. The question becomes not, “Will there be any mistakes?” but rather,”When a mistake is made, how will we handle it?”
I ask people in my training sessions to hyphenate the word “mistake” and to think of it as a “MIS-TAKE.” Doesn’t that have a different feeling? I think of the movies where it may take hundreds of “takes” to get a final print. Therefore, a “MIS-TAKE” is not bad or a failure but rather just one thing that didn’t work.
REFRAME: A “MIS-TAKE” becomes an opportunity to learn.
Most of us want to hide our mistakes; however, if you view them as “MIS-TAKES,” then everyone can be comfortable to share theirs and all can learn from them. I even suggest to organizations that they have a “MIS-TAKE” of the week and have fun with whoever has made the biggest one.
An employee tells about how they handle “MIS-TAKES” in their office. The person who accumulates the most “voids” on a particular day gets a crown and the title of “Void King or Queen for the Day.” They have chosen to have fun with what naturally will happen in their very stressful jobs.
Not only does this create a wonderful sharing and learning atmosphere, but it also gives employees permission to admit their “MIS-TAKES” and to fix them rather then pretending they didn’t happen until an angry customer lets someone know. In fact, a “MIS-TAKE,” if fixed quickly and in a creative way, can become a wonderful opportunity to create a delighted customer and a more valuable employee!
REFRAME: A “MIS-TAKE” becomes an opportunity to create a loyal customer.
Study after study has shown that one of the four things all our customers want is Recovery when the organization has made a “MIS-TAKE”. They want us to apologize sincerely, fix it, and do something extra. With creative thinking, we can dazzle customers by surprising and delighting them with the way we handle a “MIS-TAKE”, and therefore, we build customer loyalty and provide our customers a wonderful story to tell and retell their friends!
It may be difficult for some managers to lighten up enough to reframe a negative into a positive in this way; however, I have found that in organizations where employees are allowed to make “MIS-TAKES” and are encouraged to share them, ultimately the number of “MIS-TAKES” decreases because they are functioning in an atmosphere of support rather than fear.
We live in the “Age of Empowerment,” and while many informed managers are giving their employees permission to be empowered, many of them are not giving them protection when they make a “MIS-TAKE”. If you give your employees both permission and protection, you will have employees who feel respected and valued, and that will translate to your bottom line.
© Barbara Glanz Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Barbara Glanz Biography
A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at email@example.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.