Learning from mistakes can be more valuable than formal training. That’s been my experience. Too often I see retailers micro-managing their employees and denying them the opportunity of learning from mistakes.

A young employee just given responsibility for an area of a newsagency had made some excellent choices in changing product layout. The changes they had made were a vast improvement. I witnessed the owner of the business ignore the opportunity to compliment and point out where they could do better. This same owner has a track record of micro-managing employees, managing away their creativity and not tolerating any mistake.

While the young employee in the above story could have done a better job, this was their first crack. I am certain they will improve with time based on their initial work. If I was the owner I’d have congratulated them and left it at that. Good people improve of their own accord. They also make some mistakes and these are been more valuable for them and us.

I’d go as far as to suggest we need to encourage mistakes – as long as the people working with and for us learn from them. We need to learn from our own mistakes. In fact, it’s good to show off to your colleagues that we do this.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my years in business. The best mistakes are those people have seen me make and see me learn from. These are the mistakes that have been more valuable for me too.

This is my management tip today: don’t micro manage, set your people free and welcome mistakes by those who will learn from them.