Every business makes mistakes. So how do you keep these from ruining the culture of service? Learn the one piece in talking mistakes that most leaders miss.
- No matter how intentional you are about your culture, your team, or your training, mistakes happen. One of my favorite quotes is from author Edwin Friedman who says, "In any situation, the person who can "most accurately describe reality without laying blame "will emerge as the leader." When someone on your team makes a mistake, there's a three-part formula to get back on track. First, acknowledge the mistake. Now, there's no need to publicly shame someone on your team but do acknowledge the mistake.
In the best cases, your employee will tell you about the mistake. In other cases, you may be the one bringing it up. Second, address intent. Now, if you've been intentional about developing a culture of service this was probably just an honest mistake. It happens. Uncovering intent lets you know if this was a simple error or it's a sign of a larger problem. If it was an honest mistake, let your employee know you understand and you're confident that they are well-intended and they did not mean any harm.
Third, rectify the situation. If the problem can be fixed, ask your employee to fix it. If it requires more than one person to fix or a certain level of seniority, keep the employee involved as much as possible, or at least keep them informed. For example, let's say someone on your team forgot to follow up with a customer compliant. Acknowledge the mistake with the team member say, I saw on the CRM system the H+ Sport complaint was never followed up on. That was a mistake.
This sets the topic of conversation. Then, address their intent. Do you feel like we don't need to follow up, or did this one just slip through the cracks? Don't make this sound like an accusation. You're just being inquisitive. Finally, rectify the situation, something like, I need you to call them today and apologize for the lack of communication. Let me know how it goes and you can always loop me in if you need to. Now, most managers manage to acknowledge the mistake and rectify it, but it's that second point confirming intent that will differentiate you as a leader who builds a culture of service.
It aligns you, the employee, and the organization in the intent of helping customers. In high stake situations, we often sink back into our primitive blaming side. Resist that urge. Be the leader who uses these opportunities to realign your team and show your customers that you are committed to a culture of service.
- What is a culture of service?
- Cultivating an emotional connection to your customers
- Generating engagement by sharing your backstory
- Framing financials and objectives
- Unpacking your metrics
- How to use a culture of service in hiring and firing
- Reinforcing a culture of service in daily operations