April 21, 2012

Can your team celebrate mistakes?

 I remember my 'Maths Tutor' in school trying various means to teach me  how to solve  complex  maths problems. Considering my limited acumen in maths, nothing seemed to work for a considerable amount of time.

He 'seemingly' gave up any remote hope which was left. Finally, he told me about his struggling phase of dealing with maths in childhood and more importantly how he came out of it.

That was the 'inflection point'. I felt I was not being taught by a super human but an human. Maths was no more a 'Horror Show' for me since then.

On a different note, in a Team context, our pursuit 'towards'  success unites us relatively more than enjoying 'success' itself. In that pursuit of success, we make 'mistakes'.

Now keep the thoughts mentioned above in the parking lot for sometime.

How different would be the morale of the team in the below two different scenarios?
  1. Your Team Leader talks about his previous success stories with a special focus on what he did 'right' and expects you to get motivated from the same.
  2. Your Team Leader  talks about his previous success stories with a special focus on what he did 'wrong' and expects you to get motivated from the same.
There is no proven data points/ research available with me but I feel the later scenario mentioned above would ensure a better team morale. The reason is clear if I consider the example discussed earlier about my Maths Tutor.

It's natural for all teams to celebrate success but it takes a lot of humility, sensitivity and wherewithal for a Team Leader to celebrate his mistakes. Discussing one's mistakes with the team might  create a better bonding with the team than the overrated Pizza or Beer party. The team would feel 'comfortable' to tread beyond their 'comfort zone' yet be more 'cautious' about the possible mistakes.

Allowing yourself to celebrate and candidly discuss your mistakes would ensure each and every Team Members in your team to be  an "Idealistic Pragmatist"  (coined by Peter Senge).

However, its important that while sharing your mistakes, you adequately and more importantly do focus on the lessons you learnt from the mistakes. Finally, encourage your team members to make mistakes and keep learning but never repeat the same mistakes.

It's fine to make different mistakes and not repeat the same ones ;-)


sayantika said...

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert einstein

Shanky Jindal said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Saikat,

Greetings from HR REPUBLIC

I'm very keen to post your article 'Can your team celebrate mistakes?' in our monthly e-Magazine called Guild of HR e-MAG

Kindly contact me at zharif.zahri@hr-republic.org if you're interested in contributing


Zharif Zahri

Abheek said...

Hi...that's a nice write-up...my last post was also on similar lines
...http://abheekd.blogspot.in/...comment if u lyk :)

pon said...

The contents are really good…

Pragnya Mishra said...

To learn from the mistakes, needs time, self-awareness and loads of courage. Sharing mistakes is more valuable than sharing brownie points.

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