How to respond to employee mistakes

How to respond to employee mistakes

Even your most hardworking employees are bound to make a mistake on the job at some point. Their error may cost your business a client or damage a vital relationship with a supplier.

How you manage your employee when they make a mistake can significantly impact your professional relationship with them down the track.

Avoid berating an employee even if you are frustrated. Berating does not help fix the problem. Instead, the employee returns to their desk feeling embarrassed, unmotivated and even resentful towards their boss.

A good leader will always motivate an employee to want to do better, particularly when they are feeling nervous and unconfident in themselves.

Consider these approaches.

Talk to your employee in private
Never discipline an employee in the middle of the office where everyone can listen. They will be to busy feeling humiliated to take in any advice you offer to prevent the mistake from reoccurring.

Let your employee tell their side of the story
Give your employee the chance to explain how the mistake happened. It lets them know you are listening and getting to the root of the matter.

However, it is essential they also own their mistake and avoid finding excuses to deflect blame.

Determine if it is an ongoing problem
By investigating the problem, you can determine whether this is a one-off lapse in judgement or an ongoing problem occurring in your workplace.

Help them find the right process
When talking to your employee about their mistake, it is important they understand the proper way to handle the situation next time. This way you have provided a solution and fixed the problem.

Taking a positive approach helps to resolve the mistake and also maintain a healthy, professional relationship with your employee.


If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.

Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.

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