Failure is an inevitable part of business: losing a sale, missing an opportunity, dropping the ball because another prospect had our attention. Failure is also the mother of invention. Without it, we would never improve, never know what worked and what didn’t, and never be able to move forward, advance, and reach our wildest successes.
But when failure strikes, letting your team know isn’t always the easiest conversation. When it does, follow Arden Coaching’s tips for how to gracefully let your team know that you dropped the ball.
Be Honest and Take Responsibility
The most important thing when communicating a loss to your team is to be honest. Making excuses or deflecting fault tends to create confusion and controversy. Don’t dance around contributing factors; bite the bullet and take responsibility for the end result. Thank them for the effort they put into the task or project and apologize that it didn’t go as planned.
We realize this is the most difficult part: It takes a good dose of corporate courage to own up to your mistakes. But your team will appreciate your honesty and, in the long run, be better connected to you for it. You are, after all, human and prone to making mistakes, just like them.
Be Upfront About the Consequences
More than just admitting your faults, you need to make sure that your team knows the consequences for what happened and what this means for them. You lost a presentation with an important prospective client, so what will come next? Does this mean more work for them? Ramped-up efforts? Active pursuit of another direction?
Make sure that your team understands your intended next steps. Take the time needed to answer any and all questions they may have about the new plan for how you’ll get back on the horse yourself and together as a team.
Share What You Learned
Every time you drop the ball has the chance to be a learning experience. You want to make sure that you share what you’ve personally learned or taken away from what you did (or didn’t do). What can your team now count on from you moving forward that they couldn’t before? Once you determine what that something is—I should have prepared and practiced sooner. I promise I’ll never leave all of my prep work to the night before a pitch—the key to this whole process is making sure that you actually uphold your promise!
Drop the Ball, Catch It Again, and Get Back on Track
Time to get back up on your feet and try again. While it’s important to acknowledge and own your mistakes in business, it’s equally as important not to let them get you down. Refocus and be positive; your team members will understand and you’ll all be a stronger team because of it.
Get Help with Improving Your Team’s Dynamics
Top-performing teams demand trust and active communication. But reaching solid team status takes time, commitment, and direction.
If your team needs help improving its dynamics, the coaches at Arden can help! Find out more about our customized offsite facilitation programs here or contact us to request a consultation for your company today.