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As a manager or supervisor, the demands for our time continue to increase, and the opportunity to stay in touch with those that we are responsible for at the workplace can become a challenge. Understanding the work that you are overseeing is important and, in some cases, can mean the difference between repeated failures and opportunities for success.

Typically, when we experience failures, whether from a quality, production or health and safety perspective, we tend to focus solely on the behaviours of the individuals involved and the conditions in which the event occurred. These failures, more often or not, can be the result of a conflict between how procedures or policies dictate the work and how the work actually happens or needs to happen to be successful.

When something goes wrong, we spend a lot of time trying to learn from the failures, as we should. We should also spend time learning what makes the organization and the work we do successful. By learning about the successes we have, and why. We can begin to proactively look for those aspects of the work that can turn those successes into failure. There can be a very fine line between success and failure in the things we do.

If as a manager or supervisor, you took the time to observe and discuss the work being done with an open mind and the willingness to learn from your workers, you have an opportunity to not only reduce the number of failures that occur, but you engage the folks who actually do the work and they will have a true sense of ownership and responsibility of their ability to succeed.

Invest your time for success!