As a leader, there are times when you will make a mistake. Some are small, some are great, but all of them deserve the same response. This is sometimes easier said than done. It can be embarrassing to admit that you didn’t do the right thing. Often times, the people around you will feel defeated or ashamed because of the results of your actions. The worst thing you can do, is hide from it.
Whenever I make a mistake I try to remind myself of three things:
1. Take Ownership
No matter what the mistake is, as a leader, you must take responsibility for it. It doesn’t matter if you inherited the problem or not, own it. This demonstrates that you are not only up for the challenge, but you are willing to take personal responsibility for fixing it too.
As a leader this can difficult sometimes. But it is important to acknowledge that the problem occurred under your watch, and regardless of the circumstances, you regret the results. I have seen many leaders shy away from this, but this is how you establish credibility and respect with your team and those around you. When you take things personally, you tend to put more passion and energy into making them right.
3. Try to Do Better Next Time
Make things right. Whatever the mistake is, a leader always tries to do better next time. To work harder, or smarter, or faster. Whatever it takes. That gung-ho attitude that says, we will find a way to get it done. Somehow. Some way.
Making mistakes is a part of life. We all will make them. The difference is how we respond to them. When you take ownership, apologize, and try to do better next time – you are a leader.
Never be afraid to make mistakes, but there is nothing worse than doing so and then trying to cover up or make excuses. Follow these three steps and earn the respect and credibility that your team wants and deserves.
My name is Mark Behl. My passion is leadership. I share ideas, not lectures. If you would like to share an idea with me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you come back for future posts.