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Myths on Mistakes: Trouble or Opportunity

Believe it or not, there are certain myths and fallacies that have been circulating around the business industry these days about the mistakes employees make in the workplace and what kind of impact it does in the organization. The solid question that arises when the topic at hand is mentioned is that are mistakes a good or a bad occurrence in the industry,

At first, reading the word mistake already gives the impression that it is very ill-mannered and much associated with negativity. Something that should be avoided at all costs for the best. You do have a point but it is about looking at the brighter side of things and using it as a lesson in which I will try to elaborate later on.

Some bosses and managers have in mind that mistakes are very bad for the organization and the whole team as it disrupts the flow of productivity and creates an opportunity or provides leeway for conflicts to occur more frequently in the workplace. The reputation and the brand of quality are in the line so mistakes should never be tolerated in the slightest manner. Mistakes to some leaders and managers are like opening Pandora’s box wherein it will cause immense doom and destruction to befall in the workplace. Pretty exaggerated but you do get the point.

To some managers and leaders, it becomes a negative attribute and somehow considered as a very amateur type of behavior for some to create some issues or miscalculations when individuals are already considered as professionals in their designated areas of expertise.

It’s surely not the case but somehow some people just don’t get the fact that mistakes are a good thing in the sense that it creates and opens up the opportunity for the individual or even the organization to learn and grow.  It’s all about looking for the positive side of things and making an effort to stand up whenever you fall down and stumble. Most people who are at the top of their game had to fall down countless times before they were able to become masters and very known people of today. Mistakes don’t define what or who you are in life, it is basically a challenge that will mold you to change and further improve yourself to be a better, stronger smarter and wiser person.

Reality wise, mistakes in the workplace basically helps employees get better at their jobs, they are able to use their bad experiences and mistakes to the point that they would know how to handle similar challenges head-on better when they have the chance to do so.

Since there are several perspectives and viewpoints on making mistakes in the workplace, several myths or misconceptions have emerged on the topic. So, with the best of my ability, it is about time to debug and further unlock the opportunity to discuss these fallacies and shed some light on what mistakes might have to offer an organization.

Myth Number 1: A Perfect Employee is the Best Type of Employee in the Organization

Some managers and different leaders have this kind of perception or mindset that the best type of employee is typically the one who is perfect from head to toe. The ones who will do things very swiftly, productively and will do things with ease at their very first try or attempt at anything. The ones that make no mistakes or whatever slip-ups what so ever.

As cliché as it sounds, no one in the world is perfect, even candidates who have accumulated many years of experience in a certain field will commit minimal slips. Yes, we do get the idea why people think that having the perfect employee is like a match made in heaven for any organization, but how can we expect the individual and corporation to grow as a whole and improve themselves when all that happens all year round is raw but dry perfection.
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There will never be change and a very stale scale on the company’s charts. What drives people to be better at their jobs is the cycle of learning from their imperfections and mistakes they have committed in the past. Enough said countless challenges and great mistakes help build the individual’s character and experience through time and exposure.

As human beings, there will be times that we will fail, falter and have some minor miscalculations with our jobs. Employees in the first place are not robots that we can expect the same result every single time and expect the same accuracy in all of the activities given to them. What makes humans better at some jobs is how we are able to turn mistakes to a platform and use it as an advantage to further better ourselves. We could not expect an employee to be perfect, but we can expect them to learn from their mistakes and be the best that they can be from facing their challenges.

“Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. “- Brene Brown

Myth Number 2: Mistakes Makes You Look Weak as the Leader of the Team

 As leaders and managers, we know for a fact that everything the team does reflects greatly on their leader. Whether the team is doing great or has created minor slip-ups in certain situations, the leader will always be the one to blame and is accounted for what the team has done.

Making mistakes in an organization does not necessarily mean that the leader of the team was weak and did not have the ability to control and manage his team, what makes leaders weak is when mistakes occur and they start to blame their colleagues instead and make excuses rather than working together as a team to patch things up immediately.
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In some areas, whereas mistakes are supposed to be kept at a minimum, don’t let the mistake take full control of the situation and start making mountains out of molehills. Create ways or address the problem as soon as possible, what the higher-ups or superiors look at is not at the problem or mistake that occurred but how the mistake was handled and controlled by the leader.

Mistakes might be a great opportunity to learn and I might encourage and say that it has its positive sides, but never let mistakes transform into a catastrophe. Letting catastrophic chaos of a behavior spiral around and run wild is in a different world than learning from a small-scale error.

“One thing is for sure—you will make mistakes. Learn to learn from them. Learn to forgive yourself. Learn to laugh when everything falls apart because, sometimes, it will.”   Vironika TugalevaThe Art of Talking to Yourself

Myth Number 3: Allowing Mistakes Entices More Mistakes to Enter

We already reached an understanding that mistakes create room for growth. For some people, they have this idea that mistakes will entice more mistakes to enter and occur more frequently. To them, it is like a behavioral pattern that they will repeat over and over again if you let the occurrence pass.  They do have their point and logically speaking it does seem to be the case for some.

As the manager and leader just to be safe and still maintain structural balance in the organization make the first and second offense pass, but further mistakes and slip-ups will not be tolerated after that.

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The tendency of an employee creating the same mistake more than three times is a little bit off. Even though we encourage accepting mistakes, you should still establish the fact that repeating the same mistakes over and over again without overcoming and learning a lesson from it will no longer be tolerated.  Mistakes must still be kept at a minimal for too many mistakes will just lead to chaos and not even a learning experience anymore.

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are here now with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli


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