Acknowledge employee mistakes to help them remain positive


It's better for team members to admit errors and work to correct them than to maintain a false sense of confidence, a new study finds.

Imagine one of your team members accidentally dropped the ball with a client. She feels terrible, so you tell her that she’s doing just fine. Turns out, you may be doing more harm than good. New research shows that people who try to boost their self-esteem by telling themselves they’ve done a great job when they haven’t could end up feeling dejected instead.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, high and low performers felt fine when they assessed themselves accurately, probably because the high performers recognized their strengths and low performers acknowledged their weaknesses and could try to improve their future performance. These findings challenge the popular notion that self-enhancement and providing positive performance feedback to low performers is beneficial to emotional health. Instead, the study’s results underscore the emotional benefits of accurate self-assessments and performance feedback, the authors say.

Across the studies the researchers performed, results showed that those who rated their own performance as much higher than it actually was were significantly more likely to feel dejected. So the next time a team member makes a mistake, try acknowledging the slip-up and offering strategies to help her improve. See the related links below for more on team communication.

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