Criticism without understanding and empathy is ‘put-down’. Unconditional support for people, who have disclosed deficiencies, or errors, creates a high level of confidence in a team and encourages quick recovery from mistakes. It also encourages more disclosure, which is the essence of performance improvement opportunity.
The opposite can also be true and it is very easy for leadership to fall into negative reactions as things go wrong, particularly as others will likely be doing the same to them. It takes strong leadership to uphold this principle.
A good guide is to avoid making anyone feel any worse than they already do about a failure because, if they are committed to the Project, they are likely to be self-criticising. If in doubt about their commitment, ask yourself if you have done everything you can to gain their commitment.
Continuing the Safety analogy… If someone reported an unsafe act, maybe one of their own, and they were “put down”; imagine the probability of them reporting something like that again? This is not about a blame free culture but failure- tolerance.