Business initiatives, projects, and goals don’t always turn out as planned. Despite this, it’s important to recognize the hard work, lessons learned, and small successes that can be salvaged from a project, even if the project fails to meet expectations. Managers need to take time to recognize their employees’ efforts and use those insights for future endeavors—both when project outcomes are successful and when they’re not.
The Benefits of Recognizing Good Work Amid Failures
As a manager, it can be difficult to stay focused on the positive when tasks fail to meet expectations. It might feel counterintuitive to praise employees when their efforts don’t produce the desired outcome, but recognizing good work even in the face of failure is important for a few key reasons.
- Recognizing the effort employees put into their work helps boost morale and foster an environment of trust. This is especially true if employees are held accountable for their mistakes but are also given credit for what they did well. This creates a culture in which failure is seen not as something negative but as an opportunity for learning and growth.
- Taking time to reflect on what went wrong—and what went right—during a failed project can provide valuable insight into where improvements need to be made in the future. By pinpointing areas where processes could have been improved or resources could have been better used, you can ensure similar mistakes won’t happen again in the future.
- Acknowledging good work despite failure helps set your team up for success down the road. When employees know they will receive recognition for their hard work regardless of whether they succeed at first try, they are more likely to take risks and innovate, ultimately leading them closer to success down the line.
It sometimes may feel easier to move onto the next initiative without reflecting on failures, but learning from our mistakes is one of the most important steps we can take as managers and leaders of our teams.
Taking time to acknowledge good work amid failures not only allows us to boost employee morale and foster an environment of trust within our teams but also provides valuable insight into how we can do better next time around.
Don’t let failures define you. Instead, learn from them and build upon successes to drive progress and better outcomes in the future.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.