We live in a society that demands perfection. Whether it’s taking an age to find the perfect angle for your selfie face, or the hours spent in the gym to achieve that body that always seems just out of reach. The same attitude can be applied to the way that we work. Today, some of us will likely make an error or a mistake in our job.
We’ve all had that feeling that immediately follows an irreversible action. Whether it’s hitting the send button on an email that contains incorrect information, or saying something to a client that you shouldn’t have said, the feeling of your stomach dropping from inside you and your chest fluttering with adrenaline is undeniable.
Within 30 seconds of making an error at work, many of us will have accepted we’ve been fired, will be mentally updating our CV and thinking about where we can try and get a new job. There has, however, begun a change in the attitude that certain CEOs and managers have towards the way that mistakes are handled when we work.
The British inventor James Dyson became a household name after perfecting a design for a bag-less vacuum cleaner and has become a great proponent of company leaders recognising and even celebrating the mistakes of their employees. Dyson estimated that he produced over 5000 prototypes of his initial vacuum cleaner before settling on his final design, and freely admits that he wouldn’t be where he is without the string of errors that he subsequently learned from.
From a psychological perspective, the research suggests that those who break the rules, don’t follow conventions, and ultimately make errors are more creative thinkers. This is down to their ability to think outside the box when it comes to making decision.
It is worth highlighting that a variety of errors can be made no matter what profession you’re in. As well as this there is certainly a distinction to be made between errors that are made through not observing due process, as opposed to simple laziness or complacency.
Managers and CEOs should be making steps to celebrate the imperfections of their workforce and try to encourage the creative thinking that is ultimately at its core. Mistakes might expose weaknesses within a business and can be addressed accordingly. From a business point of view, employees covering up problems and errors in fear of repercussions is a recipe for disaster.
If mistakes are made, employees should be praised for bringing it to the attention of management and trained to see where processes can be made better. This will boost their self-confidence and contribute towards their personal growth. The world is not a perfect place, and that is not a bad thing. It should be celebrated, because ultimately we can worry less and lead happier healthier lives.