“It is only an error in judgement to make a mistake, but it shows infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered.”
– Christian Bovee
When was the last time you made a serious mistake? How did you react when you realized the error?
In our success and efficiency-oriented world, people often think of making mistakes as something to be ashamed of, as something to ignore or hide. When realizing their mistakes, many leaders in the business world focus more on burying the error and coming up with an explanation than trying to fix the problem they created.
I am here to tell you: these leaders are wrong.
Of course, the perception of our mistakes as leaders can be wisely managed (it’s called PR). However, we must know that while making mistakes can be harmful to our companies and uncomfortable for us personally, it is also an opportunity for us to exercise true leadership.
Own Up to Your Mistakes
Think of mistakes as an opportunity to show strength during a crisis.
Aside from the practical implications of admitting our mistakes (whether to ourselves, others or both), as people of integrity we know it is the right thing to do. Only when we take responsibility for our mistakes can we start properly fixing them. And, owning up to our mistakes is the only viable long-term solution to correcting them and learning from them.
More often than not, mistakes are discovered. Wouldn’t you rather be seen as an upstanding leader, who acknowledged the flaw in his actions and proactively did something about it, rather than one who is confronted with the mistake, which he initially denies until facts prove he has been lying?
We make decisions every day. We weigh the set of options and opportunities available to us and make what we think is the most optimal choice. These choices are often based on assumptions. Assumptions are often incorrect, and circumstances change – and sometimes we can be wrong. Sometimes we will be wrong.
So, in short, here is my advice:
- Accept that we all make mistakes, but don’t be afraid to take wise risks because you are afraid of making mistakes
- If you make a mistake, own up to it should it become known by others. Use the opportunity to grow and act like a leader.
- Under all conditions, be proactive in finding a solution after you have made a mistake and in avoiding future comparable mistakes.
What have you learned from your past mistakes? Let me know in the comments below