A residential painter once told me that the difference between a good painter and a great one was not how well they painted but how effectively they cleaned up their mistakes. This logic applies equally well to leadership. Leaders are going to make mistakes, but it’s how they deal with their errors that separate the good leaders from the great ones.
The first step in dealing with a mistake, I believe, is owning it and making others aware of it. Second is engaging your people to help you correct your error. Third is learning from your mistakes so you can avoid repeating them. The final step is sharing your experience with your team and asking them to help keep you on the right path. I, for example, sometimes make decisions when I am too emotional. My business partner knows this and she deftly steers me away from acting on my decision until I can analyze the situation more dispassionately.
Great leadership is not about avoiding mistakes. It’s about always moving forward knowing they will occur. It’s also about having the strength to be vulnerable…sharing your mistakes with others and asking for their help. If you want to increase the commitment and confidence of your people, show them you are human.
Be intentional about it…