Issue reporting and incident reporting tend to be areas of difficulty for most businesses. Many organisations struggle to get to the point where mistakes and failure become an accepted part of the organisational culture. While 70% of mistakes that happen in the workplace get treated as worthy of blame, only about 2-5% are somebody’s fault.
Organisations aren’t always open to issues and mistakes, and many tend to discourage failures, let alone the reporting of them. This creates an environment of punishment and intolerance towards incident reporting.
So, how can leaders and managers build an environment that doesn’t blame the bearer of bad news, or penalise workers for simple mistakes? Here are five tips.
5 Ways That Leaders Can Build a Psychologically Safe Environment for Blameless Reporting
1.Frame The Work Accurately
Occupations have varying levels of safety or varying propensities to mistakes or failures. This is true across industries. For example, admin workers are less likely to face drastic work conditions than construction workers. Thus, issues will be different and have different impacts on safety, security, productivity, etc., within an organisation.
This makes it important, as an employer or HR representative, to clearly define the conditions and expectations of a particular position. By making sure everyone is on the same page about what you expect from them, you create a culture of understanding and accountability.
2. Embrace The Messenger
Shooting the messenger does not help resolve an issue once it is there. Neither does trying to hide the issue. Try to remain compassionate and receptive. Be open to those that bring bad news, complaints, questions and mistakes. It helps to see failure as a valuable tool for improvement.
3. Acknowledge Your Limits
Part of creating trust and a welcoming atmosphere requires you to reflect on your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses as a leader. There are aspects of your organisation, and issues faced by your workers, that you may not be wholly exposed to. By acknowledging this, you can see reported failures as a positive developmental tool.
4. Invite Participation
Employee involvement is vital to a successful incident reporting system. In order to achieve this, you need to inform workers about reporting procedures and policies. The platform should also be easy-to-use so that it encourages reporting and celebrates reporters by inviting participation. Maybe even give incentives for those who step forward.
5. Set Boundaries and Hold People Accountable
There will be situations that warrant more heavy-handed responses. You need to make sure that all members of your organisation are aware of which actions warrant this.
The best way to do this is to set up clear rules and guidelines (like your code of conduct) with clearly stipulated repercussions for said actions. You must also be transparent when dealing with these situations and hold the necessary parties accountable.
Leading a business goes beyond just managing the numbers, logistics and other tangible areas. It requires psychological consciousness and sensitivity. Your reporting system can thrive in an environment where you encourage speaking candidly about issues and mistakes. This is the direction all organisations ought to take.
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