A Carrot A Day: Applaud Them for Messing Up

Wise words from the The Carrot Principle Team!

Who hasn’t messed up royally at work? As an employee, it’s hard to admit when you’ve made a mistake. If you are a manager, try recognizing your employees when they tell you about a mistake, before it becomes a whopper.

One leader we met has a box of small action figures by his desk. When an employee admits a mistake, he hands them a tiny Batman or Wonder Woman and tells them they are a hero for admitting their mistake. Giving the figure is a way to break the ice and make the mistake less embarrassing. The manager says that this action figure ritual makes employees admit small mistakes right when they’re made, instead of later when the mistake has become a colossal problem. Better still, the action figures have also become rewards for honesty—and trust and integrity are among their company’s core values.

This tactic has created trust among employees and their manager, and as a department, they now report the smallest amount of losses from mistakes in their company—because they catch them early.

The Carrot Principle
O.C. Tanner


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