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Failure is typically not something any of us like to be a part of, and even though we all know the importance of learning from our mistakes, it can be hard for both individuals and teams to recover after a big blunder. No matter if it was down to a project that didn’t meet its targets or a key deadline which was missed, you need to know what you can do to help your employees bounce back, and even see it as an opportunity.

Be clear about what went wrong

Be honest and address the errors/issue - this is the first step to understanding how your team can ensure that this is far less likely to happen again moving forward. Don’t sugar coat what happened, instead, be clear - “We were not able to meet this deadline because of the fact we miscalculated the time need to ensure each task was completed” as an example.

Don’t point fingers

If the fault really does lie with one person or a few people, then talk to those individuals in private and focus on their actions, not character. Look at ways you can work more closely with them from a CPD (continuous professional development) point of view, and highlight an area of training that would support them on their pain point within the project.

You can also address the group, however, be clear about the facts and do not in any way single anyone out.

Shift the focus

At some point, it’s also important to move on from analysing the failure and start talking about what comes next. After a day or two (or maybe longer if the failure was a big one), push your team to be more strategic, open-minded, and discuss how you will avoid similar mistakes in the future. Call a meeting and make sure that the tone is positive and energised, and focused on solutions. If as a manager you feel comfortable doing so, you could use humour to lighten the mood.

Futureproof your teams

Make sure that all areas where issues like this happen are tracked in some way so that you are able to make plans surrounding the issue. This could be further training, putting in place processes and documentation, Personal Development Plans, or just a short training course on time management for example.

Your teams will all look to you when something goes wrong, so lead them through it with a cool head, and you and your team will all come out the other side of it stronger for the experience.

There are a number of apprenticeships to assist with management training here at Paragon Skills that will give you this type of knowledge, skills and behaviours essential for effective management. For more information call 0800 783 2545 or email enquiries@pgon.co.uk.