How can we define faults

Error tolerance: 3 + 6 tips for more indulgence (with yourself)

The term “fault tolerance” has two meanings. In technology, it describes the property that systems work despite input, software or hardware errors. With humans it means not reacting with malice or ridicule to possible missteps. Rather, fault tolerance is the ability to endure one's own mistakes (and those of others), to accept them and to grow with them. Many find it difficult. Why it's high time to rethink ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is fault tolerance?

Educators and psychologists use the term fault tolerance in two contexts:

  • Fault tolerance as a human abilityTo ignore one's own mistakes as well as the misfortunes and failures of others and to tolerate them. Errors are not viewed as fundamentally bad, but as an everyday part of life.
  • Fault tolerance as part of a fault culture. For example in a society, in the family or in a company. In education, for example, it is important to ensure that errors are dealt with constructively in schools. The focus is on learning from mistakes.

Related to forgiveness are forbearance, patience, empathy and also the willingness to take risks. Those who tolerate mistakes are more willing to take a risk and face the risk of setback.

What are bugs?

Errors are deviations from a previously defined goal or standard. Depending on the discipline, there are numerous definitions and explanations:

  • Pedagogy: For the pedagogue Hermann Weimar, the intention was in the foreground when an error occurred. He described deliberate acts as “deception” or “forgery”. If the mistake happened accidentally, it was a "mistake" or a "careless error".
  • Psychology: For deviant behavior, psychology knows terms such as “deviance”, “deficit” or “dysfunction” - all synonyms for errors.

No matter what you call mistakes, they happen. Nobody is flawless. Everyone fails once. Most people find it easier to tolerate small mistakes than large ones. After all, they often have different consequences. However, they also have one thing in common: Errors are an engine of evolution. It was fault tolerance that enabled people of all cultures to learn from mistakes and avoid new ones.

More fault tolerance instead of playing it safe

Making mistakes, falling down, learning and getting up again - few in this country can do that so easily. Last but not least, fault tolerance is a cultural issue. In Germany we like to play it safe. There is a saying that “mistakes make one smart”. As smarter but applies to those who don't make any mistakes in the first place. Trial and error is not an accepted strategy. Anyone who becomes self-employed in this country and does not make it is quickly considered to have failed, maybe even a "failure".

Quite different in the USA. In America, the tolerance towards mistakes is significantly greater. Anyone who dares to try it there will be given high credit for the courage they need - not the result. If it doesn't work out, the recognition doesn't suffer, on the contrary: A good entrepreneur is someone who has already gone bankrupt. After all, he or she now has a lot of valuable experience - and does not make these mistakes again.

The mistakes of the others: How stupid of you!

As hard as it sounds: We like to kick those who are already on the ground. Behind this lies another cause of the lack of fault tolerance: it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Who points out the mistakes of others, rises above it and increases his self-esteem: “What a fool! Such a bottle! That wouldn't have happened to me! ”Especially those who have often received degrading criticism for their mistakes use the opportunity to feel good and to strengthen their self-confidence. Own mistakes, on the other hand, seriously scratch the self-image and ego.

The result: one's own failure is swept under the carpet, covered up, and kept secret. The unsuccessfulness and mistakes of the others are celebrated and discussed all the more extensively. The following parable clearly shows how the local tolerance for errors is.

A parable about fault tolerance

A math teacher writes a few tasks on the board in his lesson: 2 × 9 = 18; 3 x 9 = 27; 4 x 9 = 36; 5 x 9 = 45; 6 x 9 = 54; 7 x 9 = 63; 8 x 9 = 72; 9 × 9 = 91. First there is a slight giggle. Then some students laugh. A student answers to point out the obvious mistake to the teacher: “9 × 9 is 81, not 91!” She says. Now the last one in the room notices it too. Everybody is laughing.

The teacher smiles and waits for everyone to calm down and be quiet. Then he says, “I made this mistake on purpose in order to teach you a much more important lesson today. I got seven of eight problems right and made only one mistake. Instead of being happy with me about the successes, everyone laughed at the one mistake. Today we live in a performance society. As soon as someone makes a mistake, they will be publicly ridiculed, humiliated, and hurt just for making one mistake. Everything that was correct beforehand is forgotten. Most of them do a lot more right than wrong. ”Then the teacher takes his things and leaves the classroom. The room remains silent for a long time.

You can do everything right for months or years - With a single misstep, there will always be someone who pounces on it, makes fun of it, humiliates you or makes nasty comments.

Mistakes are a typical example of the Horn effect: a single deficit is enough to overshadow many other positive aspects.

Tips for more forgiveness

A lack of fault tolerance has numerous disadvantages. Above all, many no longer dare to make a mistake because they fear the consequences.

Error tolerance in companies

From a company perspective, fault tolerance is a double-edged sword: Too many mistakes mean financial losses, possibly poorer competitiveness. The focus is therefore often on avoiding errors. Good fault tolerance here means finding a balance: between the hope of success on the one hand and the fear of failure on the other. For example like this:

  • Appreciative communication style
    Anyone who has to fear having their head torn off at the next opportunity is doing maximum service according to regulations. Such employees do not bring their own ideas and are afraid to take on responsibility. An important criterion for more tolerance for mistakes is therefore an objective, appreciative tone. Without reproaches and threatening gestures, but solution-oriented. Make it clear to yourself: there can be no innovation without mistakes.
  • Exemplary leaders
    Managers who stand up for their mistakes are the best role models. They do not show any weaknesses, but rather sovereignty in dealing with their own deficits. At the same time, they exemplify the tolerant corporate culture. That includes criticizing attempts to cover up. If an employee tries to hide mistakes, the manager should state this. In a feedback discussion it should be clearly communicated that the behavior is undesirable.
  • Corrective Action
    Instead of working on mistakes for a long time, the consequences should be eliminated. If the processes are faulty, it is important to establish corrective and preventive measures. This avoids unnecessary repetition errors.

Error tolerance among each other

We should also be more forgiving of mistakes in our private lives. If you want to grow, you have to dare to do new things, take risks - and admit mistakes to yourself. How do you do that? The following tips can increase your own fault tolerance.

  • Accept your mistakes
    Fault tolerance always starts with ourselves. Accept that you make mistakes and don't feel bad about them. If you are wrong, there is no need to be ashamed and doubt your own abilities. Mistakes are human - no more perfectionism and expectations of yourself that are too high. Those who treat themselves more tolerantly also gain more indulgence towards other people's missteps.
  • Take your liberty
    Quite a few get lost trying not to make mistakes. Nonsense! No matter how beautiful the plan was, if you realize you were wrong, give yourself the freedom to break off, rethink, and take a different path. As Thomas A. Edison recognized wisely: “I have not failed. I've only found 10,000 ways that don't work. "
  • Realize the trouble
    We often only evaluate success. Not how much time, work, energy, sweat and tears went into a project. The fact that it doesn't work in the end doesn't reduce the effort. Why not admire it? Maybe there is a role model in it too!
  • See the positive things
    Errors are a snapshot. As in the parable, there are many mini-successes and positive experiences around it. Our tolerance for mistakes increases as we learn to focus on these aspects. Focus your perception on it instead of just seeing the one mistake.
  • Lead by example
    You can also influence your environment with greater tolerance for mistakes. Show through your behavior what the right way to deal with setbacks and defeats. In this way you encourage others to follow your example and to accept mistakes or not to demonize them.
  • Learn from mistakes
    Of course there is a difference between acceptance and ignorance. The subsequent work-up remains important. We can only deal better with mistakes if we learn from them - and do it better next time. Mistakes are not final, they are a step forward. This setting makes it easier to tolerate errors.

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December 2, 2020Author: Nils Warkentin

Nils Warkentin studied business administration at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In the career bible, he is devoted to topics related to studying, starting a career and everyday office life.

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