How often do we focus on what could go wrong, instead of what is going right? Too often. A leader needs to provide a platform that will allow his team to make mistakes, and to learn from them. They are valuable learning mechanisms if adequately recorded, analysed and learnt from. A level of calculated risk is essential in business – foster the enthusiasm and confidence that are necessary for this, and unequivocally support your team in their ventures. Encourage them to think and do differently. The culture of an organisation will define how the people cope with change, as the culture is often defined by the simple headline, “This is how we do it”.
Give your team exposure to new challenges, a chance to knock their heads and learn the hard way. Don’t try to make things too easy. Never allow what can be termed protective parenting, making a situation easy short-term but not capacitating someone long term.
Encourage a sense of independence in each individual, and collectively a feeling of inter-dependence. Also encourage re-invention, the potential to improve actions and elements of the workplace, even when they seem good. Let the aspiration be to become great rather than good.
Allow your team to take responsibility, especially when it comes to their mistakes. You need to know that you as the leader may have to step in as a last resort – often effective when a client needs to be “smoothed over”, managed and massaged, or when payment is not forthcoming. A leader’s intervention is often a last resort that sees results.
With resilience one emerges from an experience stronger. Resilient team members exhibit flexibility, focus, positivity and humour. They are able to learn from their mistakes, to recognise and use opportunity to their best advantage and to stay focused on the overall goal. Build a culture that thrives on success. Talk about it and let everyone smell it. Constantly offer approval rather than criticism.
Offer a platform on which people can express themselves freely, yet appropriately. A leader who listens and encourages feedback is better engaged with his employees. He needs to understand what people want and need, and then he must allow them the appropriate time and place to communicate. When people are allowed to communicate freely they are more likely to express their work positively in a broader sense to people beyond their colleagues. Staff will not care about what you know or want or need to know, until they are confident that you, the leader, care. How do they know that you care? You tell them.