Learn by doing

May 10, 2017
Stephen Yeakley

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom”

They happen each day, some more costly to you and others around you. Our response to mistakes is what matters, to view it as an opportunity to grow. What I experience often in team dynamics is the following: the pressure to not fail versus the desire to limit the number of errors. If we step back and consider that we are building something and mistakes made are lessons learned. Our attitude of embracing them and learning is an important value for any team.

Pressure to not fail: At the core, this statement is a defensive stance and leads to a team dynamic lead by anxious meanderings that will ultimately lead to the dynamic of each member looking to cover one’s derrière. When you are starting out, you must allow for yourself and your team to make mistakes, embrace them as an opportunity for all to learn together.

Limit the number of errors: This is a healthy response to challenges that will come, keeping the bigger goal in mind, allowing for teams to function and grow as teachable moments. It won’t be long before it is your turn to sit at the table and eat your share of humble pie, needing your team to stand with you.

On creative teams, the desire to not make mistakes and the pressure to perform with excellence can be a double-edged sword. The value of excellence in everything you do is a necessary and vital pillar of any creative team. An equally important value is strength in relationship and support for one another in the midst of when things go haywire.

As leaders, we inevitably will make mistakes that will directly impact those around us. Give yourself grace knowing that from these untimely, teachable moments you will come out stronger as a team if you make it an opportunity to learn.

From the leader who’s painfully aware of his mistakes, I implore you to learn, grow, and move forward.


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