The worst thing a leader can do is penalise their team for making mistakes. They stop taking risks, hide the truth and can stunt development as they wait for everything to be perfect.

I listened to a story by Herbie Hancock about Miles Davis, where he said, “in the middle of Miles solo, I played the wrong chord. A chord that sounded completely wrong, and Miles paused for a second and then played some notes that made my chord right, which astounded me, and I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.”

Miles was known for his creativity and for turning mistakes into masterpieces ( Think – Kind of Blue – 1959), which has been regarded as his most significant work and cited as the greatest jazz album of all time.

Herbie’s quote made me think about the times I have been intolerant of mistakes and how much better things would be if I worked through the error or supported the person who made a mistake.

I’m sure there’d be a different result.

How much more motivated, empowered and relaxed would your team be if, when they made a mistake, you changed your perception, corrected it and moved on without fuss, thereby opening up the possibility of creating something better?

A restaurant owner recently told me there are many times when a chef makes mistakes, and the dishes come out perfect; some of their best-selling dishes result from an error.

Leaders need to be more tolerant when their team members make a mistake, and how you give feedback is the most important and empowering thing you can do.

What are you like when your team make a mistake do you focus on the mistake or see it as a learning opportunity?