Killing Someone’s Confidence Is Not How Leaders Are Made

Sometimes a manager, or even the client, needs to be sympathetic and act as a parental figure in certain situations.

Every once in a while mistakes happen. And when that occurs, it’s important to not only handle the situation delicately with the client, but also with the employee involved in the situation. 

In PR, it’s often said that you need to treat every client differently. They all have their own unique personalities, expectations, and so on.

But the same rings true for employees. Some are better at handling criticism. Others are not.

Whether you are the angry client or the disappointed account manager, there’s a right and a wrong way to deal with a situation.

Ask yourself these three questions before you react and decide the proper course of action:

1. Does the person who messed up have a history of this, or do they get 99 percent of their tasks right?

2. What was the reason for the mishap?

3. Was there a way I could have prevented this from happening?

Sure, some mistakes are more devastating than others, but before slapping that person on the wrist, treat the situation as if you are about to send out an important e-mail (perhaps the one you accidentally sent out in the first place!). In other words, think before you speak (or type). Make it a learning experience, not a trip to see the warden.

From the entry-level executive to the arrogant manager who walks around like they own the joint, everyone  screws up at one point or another. And when that happens, someone should be there to pick up their spirits, not kick them while they’re down.


10 comments on “Killing Someone’s Confidence Is Not How Leaders Are Made

  1. Thanks for this post! Couldn’t have said it better myself. As a young PR pro who’s worked with managers/clients from both ends of the spectrum, I don’t need to tell you that the managers who treat mistakes as learning experiences have stronger teams, happier employees and fewer mistakes in the end. Not to mention they always end up delivering a better product.

    We can all learn something from this. Thanks again!

    • It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Hopefully more exec’s learn how to treat others better, while also getting the constructive criticism across in a positive way.

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Think that while many management styles develop strong teams, leaders who address problems as a constructive coach will have a better team — in every sense.

    Think that, regardless of style, good leaders must be able to adapt, in some way, to each person’s makeup and the specific dynamic.

    -Chris Ehrlich

  3. This is so right on. Hate to bring up the old analogy, but a work group is like a team. You need to play on everyone’s strong points and help build up those strengths. Tearing someone down only makes them less productive overall.

    Sadly, some corporate cultures don’t promote this and it’s very difficult for an excellent manager to be able to counter this environment. Yet, the smart companies are the ones that succeed. In the long run, these managers are the only ones who will excel.

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