Leaders react differently to mistakes they make. Some readily admit them and learn from them. While others spin the facts to place blame on others. Ignoring the learning lessons mistakes offer can be detrimental to career success, and negatively impact relationships with clients, bosses, boards, employees and co-workers.
The next time you make a mistake, or your team fails to fulfill a project’s intended goals on-time or within budget, instead of finding excuses, blaming others or criticizing the circumstances, embrace the mistake. Mistakes can provide depth and breadth to your leadership credentials when resolved responsibly.
Mistakes are Opportunities for Success
What worked? What didn’t work? Take time to objectively review the facts of the project when a mistake is made. Start with objective (factual) items that did work. There will always be some. Then, focus on the factual items that did not work. (Objective facts can be quantified.) Review with your team and come up with a plan to correct the mistakes made (these could include assumptions, actions, strategy, mindsets, etc.). Also read, 5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Results (and Enjoy Being a Leader Again) http://ow.ly/4mOLGF
Talk it out with trusted advisors. Sometimes we make things mean more than they do. Other times we may be obtuse and not accept the seriousness of our words or actions. Feeling bad does not erase the impact of the mistake. The key is to find a way to resolve it and learn from it. Talk it out with your external coach, industry mentor, boss and/or other trusted advisors to help you learn from the mistake(s) faster. Hiding and hoping no one will notice will negatively impact your credibility as a leader.
Stop mind-reading other’s reactions to the mistake. Everyone reacts differently to mistakes made. Ask for your team’s input and don’t assume you know what they will tell you! Actively listen, ask the right questions and set aside any defensiveness. Then, take action to resolve the mistake.
Apologize. Normally, your ego will delve into explaining your actions and intentions as a way of saying, “It’s not my responsibility.” Stop! This comes across as defensive and prevents you from learning from it. Instead, embrace the mistake, be humble and share the facts of what happened and what you learned. Ask the people impacted what you can do to resolve it to their satisfaction. The key is to keep communication lines open and develop your leadership skills in handling upset and controversy.
Don’t make mistakes mean so much. Too often, we beat ourselves up for making the mistake. Cut it out! Mistakes can happen with anyone! It’s how you handle mistakes that make the difference between being a leader and sabotaging your career upward. Don’t forget to forgive yourself!
Leaders not only learn from their mistakes, they embrace them. Take responsibility and the necessary actions to get mistakes resolved powerfully.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2016
Jeannette Seibly has been an international business advisor, executive coach and management consultant for over 23 years. Along the way, she guided the creation of three millionaires. Her trademark is her uncanny ability to help business professionals identify roadblocks and help them blast through those barriers to produce unprecedented results. Contact her for a free, confidential conversation on how to get the results you want: www.SeibCo.com/contact