No matter how much you plan or mitigate the risks, people are going to make mistakes. How you react to that as a manager is one of the most important things you can work on to increase the health, performance, and resilience of your team.
And it's hard. Much harder than all the shiny policies you can introduce when things are going well. Because in the heat of the moment we often react emotionally rather than with practicality, measure and kindness.
We're getting better at this as an industry. Blameless post mortems are more common and the days of wearing the hat of shame or buy the beers when you mess up have, thankfully, mostly gone. But how much better are we in our interactions when one of our team does something that will reflect badly on us as a manager? Do those old feelings of shame, or panic, or the avoidance of blame rear their heads? Does that have an impact on how you respond to people?
Most of us have weathered a few moments when our blood has run cold as we realise we've done something that feels catastrophically bad. Whether it was damaging or a learning experience was almost definitely shaped by the reaction of the people around us, especially managers. This is the difference between being able to fix the problem as quickly as possible and learn from it and the situation spiraling.
By exploring our own reactions to being in the chain of responsibility of an error we can build our own resilience to absorb the fallout, protect our team and help them to feel safe enough to take responsibility and grow from these experiences.