Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adventures of Boss Lady: When Employees Make Mistakes

Part of my lessons in being a Boss Lady have been delegation and telling people to do things instead of asking (in the "do me a favor tone" rather than "do you mind" tone). A lot of my on-the-job training for being a Boss has boiled down to confidence/and or competence. If I assert it, things seem to go better for me than if I let folks know I "don't know what I am doing".

Maybe not this, yes?
Mistakes are a part of life and will happen. I don't mind this as it is part of my reality at my "day job". I have great coaches/bosses who help me learn through the mistakes and put me on the right path towards learning to do things well next time. It's pretty cool. I'm attempting to model the same thing to my employees when things need correction, but I'm finding it difficult as I don't have a lot of experience in this field. 

I am finding that a lot of things "I just know" because I have done them for so long need to be spelled out so that there are clear expectations and my employees can see the direction I want things to go for the business. I am also finding that very smart people say very dumb things, and I have to help them learn not to do so (in front of customers). 

This Boss Lady process is also full of ME making mistakes, but as the Boss Lady, I have to deal with it differently. And then talk to my employees about how to handle things so my mistakes don't impact them negatively. 

I hope I get better at this, but I am really excited by how much I am learning.


  1. Employees need to feel comfortable and not freak out when a mistake happens.. that way resolutions can be dealt with properly.

    Training isn't always enough, because certain processes are only done once in a while... and won't be remembered 6 months from now when someone needs to do it again. Operation manuals and checklists are great.. Even the simplest of tasks to someone who knows it well can seem impossible to someone who never has to do them.

  2. It can also help to do a regular letter of expectation for each of your employees. Not a evaluation so much of a this is what I expect from everyone, including yourself. Go over the letter with each one of them and then have them sign it.

    Signing it is actually the key here. The employee gets the information, but the signiture places a bit of importance on the info in their minds.

    As a side note, asking your employees instead of telling them to do tasks is not always a bad thing. As long as they know you will tell them to do it if you really need it done, they will understand.

    Something I have found useful is to give them a list or choices. Say do you want to clean the bathroom or sweep the sidewalk first. This way you are getting the things done you need, but the choices give them a sense of ownership in the tasks they are taking.