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Learning from mistakes

Corrective feedback and consequences as recipe for success





We are learning from mistakes, aren´t we? Not necessarily because frequently we tend to fade out our failures and try to get back to routine without any much fuss.

According to a new study from Germany there are two parameter which neutralize this so-called “tune-out-effect” and make not before then learning possible: 1. Corrective feedback and sufficient time in a secure atmosphere to analyse what has gone wrong. 2. The concern about optional negative consequences – from image damage till loss of the job.

Comparing learning from mistakes with Learning from and with success the two approaches apparently are likewise effective.

Keith/Horvath/Klamar/Klese, „Failure to Learn From Failure Is Mitigated by Loss-Framing and Corrective Feedback: A Replication and Test of the Boundary Conditions of the Tune-Out-Effect“, in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2022, vol.151, no. 8, e19-e25.

From the practice:

Now at least we have it in black and white: we must not assume that people are automatically interested in learn from their mistakes and develop further. And: a substantial motive for the concept of “Learning from mistakes” are the awareness and the knowledge that otherwise you will face personal consequences.

These results are to be noted and underlined in red particularly for those who shy away from any kind of negative consequences as reactions for periodical mistakes or even worse announce that there will be consequences and then don´t dare to execute them. That´s definitely not credibility.

Being the leader or superior you have to maneuver proactively. To hope that people pull themselves together on their own to get better, is mostly illusion.

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