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Fault of the Employee is the Fault of Management

Fault of the Employee is the Fault of Management

author: Lee Buttolph

More explanation from the Process Improvement Loop blog post.

1. Fault of Employee is Fault of Management (Example)

- Don't rush to yell when there is a good chance the mistake was your fault

- Use mistakes as an opportunity for process improvement

- A good checklist solves most employee mistakes

What does this part of the Process Improvement Loop mean?

It is my management philosophy that ALL MISTAKES an employee makes are actually management's fault, not the employees.  Most employees are good people and want to do right by their employer.  When they make mistakes it is important to first look at the manager to decide why the employee made the mistake.

Did the employee make the mistake because the process they were using was poorly designed?  How about the equipment they have to use?  Is it old and it breaks down?  What type of training plan is in place?  Is it all On the Job Training (OJT) or is it well thought out to insure proficiency?  All of these issues have the same root cause... management did a poor job of setting the employee up for success.

But what about that employee that willfully did a poor job?  Well, guess what?  Your management team is also responsible for recruiting and hiring.  Management let that person through the front door when they hired them.  A reevaluation of the hiring plan by management is necessary.

Mistakes are rarely a yelling opportunity.  Use mistakes as an opportunity to improve a process.  Employees will be happier with the outcome and they will be less fearful of reporting mistakes to management when they know the repercussions are that they will become better at their job.

Finally, checklists are the best way to keep mistakes from happening.  An employee can have many small and large tasks that they need to perform every day.  It is nearly impossible for anyone to remember every task and the order they should be done in.  By creating simple checklists you will ensure a much higher completion rate than without one.

To learn more about checklists check out the following article and book on checklists:

New Yorker Article - The Checklist: If something so simple can transform intensive care, what else can it do? by Atul Gawande

Book - Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande