One of the most frustrating things for managers in any organization is having to answer the same questions or respond to the same mistakes repeatedly. Most managers are tolerant of an honest mistake but expect the offending party to learn from it and not repeat it.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean others in the organization won’t make that mistake. Similarly, a manager may respond to a question from one team member only to subsequently hear the same question from other team members.
From Frustration to Insight
This can understandably be frustrating for managers, who might see the whole situation as inefficient and a waste of time. But managers in such situations should consider that the issue may not be with staff but rather with the organization as a whole or even the managers.
After all, why is it that multiple employees have the same questions? Presumably, that would mean they need knowledge to perform their jobs that they haven’t been given.
Similarly, if multiple staff members are making similar mistakes, it often means there is a problem with a process or a lack of training. The onus, then, is on the managers to address the situation.
Learning from Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
One strategy that can help address this problem is to periodically review FAQs and common mistakes with the team. The format and frequency will necessarily depend on the specifics of the team and issues they are facing.
For example, common questions of new hires might be addressed during orientation. A relatively mundane operational issue could be reviewed at a monthly department meeting. A serious and potentially costly mistake in a new process might merit an emergency meeting with all relevant staff as soon as possible.
In addition to efficiently addressing issues that are facing multiple staff, sharing FAQs and common mistakes helps remove some of the stigma of having questions and making mistakes in the first place because staff can see they aren’t the only ones facing such challenges.
While it can be frustrating for managers to address the same questions and mistakes over and over again, such widespread issues are more a reflection of the organization and the managers than of the employees making those mistakes.
Collecting those shared experiences and sharing them with the team can be an efficient way to address common challenges while encouraging staff to come forward when they have issues.