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How do your leaders react when your decisions lead to mistakes?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 170,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: When I make a decision that results in a mistake, my leaders …

  • Accept the mistake, coach me and encourage me to make future decisions: 72.08%
  • Punish me for the mistake and discourage me from making future decisions: 27.92%

Go ahead … make a mistake (sometimes). Clearly, the majority of folks work in a supportive environment where they’re given latitude and authority to make decisions even if they result in mistakes. The worrisome part is the almost 30% of you who don’t work in such an environment. I’d suggest providing the feedback to your boss that you feel stifled in your ability to make decisions. Explain how that environment results in less initiative, and agree on levels of decision-making authority in which you’re free to operate. Perhaps that will reduce the “punishment zone.”

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”