“You did what?!”


The last thing your staff need to hear when they’ve done something wrong and told you about it, is a lecture. So how do you respond when things go wrong?


Don’t wait until it happens

So much of the success of a project is in the planning and in using the systems in place for dealing with things as they arise. manager-planningThe same applies to dealing with staff when things go wrong.

I’ve found it is always easier to address an issue that comes up with a member of staff if we already have a routine of regular feedback meetings. This way a meeting to address an issue that’s arisen will seem less awkward. Having regular feedback will also minimize the likelihood of mistakes or misunderstandings arising.


How open are the lines of communication?

Clarity, honesty and openness are key features for good communication. As a manager you can set the expectations with clarity right at the start and allow staff the opportunity to honestly respond to what you are asking of them. If despite all best efforts something does go wrong, then to get to the bottom of it and move on, openness is really important.


Openly acknowledging that it’s okay to make mistakes and that mistakes can be opportunities for change is one element to include. Another is to have two way feedback: ask if there was anything you might have done differently to help avoid the problem. You can get tips on receiving feedback so it doesn’t hurt here.


How honest are you about what’s on your mind?

manager-worriedCreating a culture of honesty needs to start with you as a manager. Of course, there may be things you are not at liberty of sharing fully with staff, but I’m not talking of sharing things you’re not meant to. You might find it useful to reflect on how openly and constructively you share what’s on your mind. I say constructively because of course responses of anger or frustration will need to be managed responsibly; honesty does not mean inappropriate venting of emotion.



On a scale of 1-10 how honest would you say you are in your communications with staff?



Consider what one thing you could do to demonstrate that you are being as honest/open with your staff as you can be. (Remember, staff will ‘role-model’ you).

Set yourself a date by which to take this action.

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