8 Ways Great Leaders Handle Their Mistakes
Have you totally blown it lately? Had to deal with mistakes you might have made?
Haven’t we all? Somewhere, somehow, some way, we mess up.
Regularly. Despite our best intentions.
It happens, even when we do everything in our power to prevent them.
We all make mistakes, even the best and most competent leaders and thinkers.
It’s tempting to think top leaders become great at what they do because they make very few mistakes.
Surprisingly, what makes leaders great is not that they stop making mistakes.
What makes them great is how they handle their mistakes.
Which means that there’s hope for all of us.
It is not the mistakes that are so important as what happens next.
Those who are genuinely great leaders have mastered the art of dealing with errors, and we could each learn a lot from their example.
How Leaders Handle Their Mistakes
Here are some of the most important things that great leaders do and what you can learn from how they handle mistakes.
Come clean quickly.
When something has gone wrong, great leaders are the first ones to admit there is a problem.
They don’t try to cover it up, they don’t blame other people, and they don’t’ wait to see if anyone notices.
I make a lot of mistakes, every day. When I was working at Jordano’s, sometimes my mistake could really impact the company.
I always went straight to my boss, told her what I did, and gave my ideas on how I should fix it. We talked through the options, and she always appreciated that I came right to her and didn’t try to cover it up or hope nobody would notice.
But I knew that I was going to have to take responsibility no matter what.
Either now when it was easier to fix, or later when it would become a much bigger problem and then people would know I tried to hide it. I never wanted that.
So take responsibility, even for those parts that you did not cause.
Don’t understate the scope of the problem.
Trying to minimize the challenge does not make it any easier to tackle or solve.
Belittling the problem is worse than hiding it because you are being dishonest about how it could affect other people.
Fully diagnose the problem.
The more you know about what happened and why, the better you will be able to devise the right solution or make the right changes in the future.
Giving a solution without all the information is neither helpful nor honest, so take the time to figure out the full story before trying to implement a solution.
Ask for feedback and input.
Great leaders realize that they do not have all the answers and that others on their team have valuable insights.
While you accept responsibility as a leader, you can still be open to suggestions from your team.
The same is true for us all.
People around you have perspectives and experiences different from yours, so do not be afraid to ask for advice or input on how to solve your challenge.
Make sure the problem is resolved.
Leaders do not rest until a resolution is found, and neither should you, especially when your mistake affects other people.
Leaders provide updates to their team when solutions are in the works.
Be sure the people in your life know precisely what you are doing to help mend your errors when they are impacted.
Help others learn from your mistakes.
When problems are resolved, leaders use that opportunity to share the lessons learned with others.
Leaders want to make learning opportunities for everyone else, too, so they make a point to share their newfound understanding.
When you see a friend struggling with a problem that you have some experience with, be sure to let them know what you have learned from your mistakes, too.
Don’t just fix the symptom.
When mistakes occur, they can sometimes reveal more systemic or structural problems.
When you just fix the immediate problem and not the larger issue, you are guaranteeing that something else will go wrong in the future.
Take the time to fix it right.
And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking business, relationships, personal growth, and everything else in life. It’s true for all of them.
Make a commitment never to repeat your mistakes.
The best way to show others that you are sincere in your efforts to fix a problem is to learn from your mistakes.
Break the cycle and stop repeating behaviors or beliefs that perpetuate the problem.
Actions speak louder than words, and when a mistake changes you for the better, it speaks loudest of all.
Leaders take Responsibility for Mistakes and Solutions
Leaders get to be so because they realize that someone must be in charge and accept responsibility for when things go well and when mistakes happen.
And there might be times when you had nothing to do with the mistake, but as a leader you step up, accept responsibility and take charge to make sure it’s fixed.
The same is true for you in your own life.
Seriously! The good thing is you get to be the leader. How exciting is that! You are in control of your life.
Leaders are leaders precisely because they step up and take charge. If they don’t know what to do, they find out.
They take responsibility and don’t give up until they’ve resolved the issue they’re dealing with.
You can be a leader too!
Be the leader of your happiness and start handling mistakes like a boss!
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What ways do you find work best for you to handle mistakes?
And how has taking responsibility for them helped you towards working to achieve your success?
Please share with us in the comments below.
We’d love to hear your stories.
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