Recognising Employee Mistakes

If you’re too old to be a millennial, you’re from a generation who have generally been taught to believe that you go to work for your pay cheque and anything you do over and above what is expected is worthy of recognition.

By: Sinead Healy on

If you look at most of our bonus structures, they are usually set around objectives which are above and beyond our day job. Therefore, giving praise for doing what’s expected of you or giving praise for the initial effort can seem alien to some organisations.

However most from the Generation X or Baby Boomers would agree that success comes from hard-work and persistence.

Dr Carol Dweck, who is a professor of psychology at Stanford University wrote about the reasons why some can find the internal grit to persist even in the face of failure and why others don’t. She put it down to mindset, citing that some have a fixed mindset, meaning that they saw their skills, ability and intelligence are fixed points which cannot be moved beyond. Whereas those with Growth mindsets believe they can get better with practice and commitment and therefore ultimately engage in the learning process even when they’re not getting the desired results.

In ‘The Power of Yet’, her TED Talk, students’ brains were monitored as they worked on a task and made mistakes. Those with fixed mind-sets tended to run from their errors and ignore them, while participants with growth mind-sets explored what went wrong and were more interested in correcting it.

There’s an important tool for managers to support their colleagues shift to a growth mindset and it is praise and recognition of effort, persistence, process and commitment to a task.

It may seem counter intuitive to some to praise people who haven’t yet reached a target or completed a project, however recognising their efforts and showing faith that those efforts will get them to where they need to be plays a huge part in morale and ultimately shifting mindsets from fixed to growth.

This is what we do.