Get them talking:
How do you handle it when you make a mistake?
What do you do? What do you say to others… and yourself?
Keep them talking:
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made recently? Tell me that story.
What did you learn from that mistake? Did it change the way you work?
What about the folks on your crew — how do you handle it when they mess up? Do you handle it differently for different folks?
What’s the wrong way to respond to mistakes!?
Points to consider:
Mistakes are inevitable… and useful… provided we learn from them.
When we make a mistake, the most important thing is to acknowledge it… to let others know we know we screwed up.
Sometimes other people will need to “vent” — to yell or shout or call you names. That’s okay! Let them blow off steam. Don’t take it personally! They may be talking about you, but what they’re really doing is expressing their own frustration. Let them go for a while… don’t argue with them.
And, just as other folks may need to scream and shout at you… you may wind up screaming and shouting at yourself! Most people are way more critical of themselves than they are of others! Take the same approach: let those self-critical voices holler and shout for a bit and then ask them, “are you done? are we ready to move on now?”
The best response to a mistake is figuring out how to make things right… and make sure it doesn’t happen again!