Be happy with an excuse in The Good Talk

by Danique Geskus | Sep 27, 2023

Coaching leadership is one of the five ingredients of The Good Conversation. In this conversation, there should be room for “a sorry. Admitting to having made a mistake is not easy for every employee. Certainly not to his supervisor. Fear of his sighing response often prompts an employee to sweep a mistake under the rug, for example. After all, what does not know does not hurt. A missed opportunity, again nothing learned and the employee knows that darn well.

The smooching drum is already opening again. Across the table rolls explanations as to why deadlines were not met and the product was not 100 percent compliant. And you as a manager should be happy about that? Yes! Because a yes-no discussion is not productive and certainly does not lead to a process of learning from mistakes. He also knows that if he acts like a know-it-all, the employee will not dare to be so vulnerable next time. (Source: The GREAT Interview Book, 2023, Jacco van den Berg)


There is no such thing as the truth

Because every excuse is subjective, it is important in good conversations to take the employee’s reality as the starting point. Let the employee tell about the situation and ask through to the reasons why he or she can’t quite do or know something yet. Like the employee, the manager is curious. After all, curiosity is the beginning of wisdom.

“Curiosity is the beginning of wisdom.”


Release the sigh

It remains to be seen whether a more in-depth coaching conversation would ensue if the manager in his role as coach had breathed a big sigh when the mistake was brought up. In coaching, trust is one of the success factors. The employee must feel safe to dare to put on the table anything that interferes with their performance or development. Delight in the supervisor over an apology contributes to this safety.


Failure is super!

“Why, according to Frank Deurling, author of the book SuperFailure, is it good to be honest about things that go wrong? “Organizations don’t want everyone to make the same mistakes because no one says anything. In addition, the team atmosphere improves by being open about missteps. Employees think they will be laughed at, but often colleagues actually find it brave. And it’s contagious, making it easier to acknowledge mistakes. Other than that, it breathes. Annoying emotions like guilt and shame disappear by talking about failures’


Organize a f*ck-up get-together

Organize coffee-wrong moments or f*ck-up get-togetherswhere everyone takes turns sharing a gaffe. Such a set time in the month lowers the threshold for acknowledging mistakes, and it is a session where employees learn from and with each other.

Good conversations thrive in a climate where mistakes are learning opportunities. Especially if the manager coaches his employees on how to fix the mistakes and prevent them.


Want to know more?

Want to learn more about the modern HR cycle? And how to renew them? Also read our blog “The modern HR cycle: tips, examples and everything you need to know!”.

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