August 2023
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TD Magazine

5 Steps to Help Someone Through a Bad Decision

Monday, July 31, 2023

The average US employee makes 118 mistakes yearly, according to a 2017 Identity Guard/OnePoll survey. When workers become distracted or pressured, they can more easily make poor decisions that affect the broader organization. Here's how to coach employees to learn from a mistake and move forward.

1. Lead with empathy.


The best way to demonstrate empathy is through active listening—listen without interrupting or judging. Instead of jumping straight to offering advice, acknowledge the person's feelings and take action to offer support.

2. Define the pain points.

Identify the missteps that led to the individual's mistake and determine whether it is a pattern. The more specific you are, the more you will help them avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

3. Turn "you" into "we" conversations.

To help the person bounce back, shift one-on-one conversations to team-centered terminology. Instead of asking questions that blame or criticize, pose questions that get the team talking about ideas to resolve the issue.


4. Treat mistakes as lessons and opportunities.

Blaming workers for mistakes rarely fixes anything. Rather than regarding mistakes as setbacks, use them as opportunities for learning.

5. Provide solutions for the future.

Focus on what you can do to make things better. Set specific and attainable goals for the employee, such as checking in with the team leader weekly, asking for help when needed, or reading up on company policies before starting new projects.

About the Author

Craig Goodliffe, founder and CEO, Cyberbacker

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