Owning Your Mistake

Owning Your Mistakes

I make mistakes all the time. In fact, I just told my kids the other day at the dinner table, I said, “Do you know how you know that it’s 10:00 AM?” They looked at me confused and asked what I was talking about. My answer to them was, “because I’ve made at least eight mistakes”.

Every day I make mistakes and I’m sure you do as well. We hate admitting that we make mistakes. I don’t know about you, but for me, I want to be perfect. I want everything I do to work out every single time. I want everyone to think that I am a Rockstar, that everything I do turns to gold and everything that’s been assigned to me or everything that I say I’m going to do, I do it to perfection. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. I make a lot of mistakes, but once I make a mistake, once you make a mistake, you find yourself at a fork in the road. You have two options from that point when you realize that a mistake has been made.

Turn towards people

The first option is, you can turn towards people. When you turn towards people you can own your mistake and say, “Hey guys, real quick, I just want to let you know I just made a mistake.” What that does is builds trust and vulnerability. It shows that you’re not perfect. It shows that you’re taking responsibility for the mistake that you made. What it ends up doing, is it will end up connecting you as a team because you’re acknowledging the mistake, you’re owning the mistake, and you’re admitting the mistake. As I’m trying to keep growing, reach higher, and move forward, owning my mistakes lets everybody know that I can acknowledge when I mess up. Acknowledging your mistakes can be disarming, and so by admitting the mistake, you have an opportunity to build vulnerability and build trust with your team.

Turn the other way

Option two is to go the other way. Going the other way is to cover it up, it’s to try to fix it as soon as possible without anybody knowing, it is to deny the mistake. When you choose the option to turn the other way, what happens is, your team knows that a mistake was made. They know that you made a mistake. When you don’t admit your mistake and you don’t own up to your mistake, or if you try to cover it up, it destroys trust and it builds up blame within your team. Not owning your mistakes sets a culture of mistrust and distrust, and that’s not what you want to do within your team.

As a leader, one of the best things that you can do is, as soon as you make a mistake, just say, “Hey guys, I blew it. I made a mistake. I just want to let you know I’m working on a solution right now, but just FYI, I’m aware of it and I’m fixing it and I’m really sorry about that.”

That’s all you need to say. No matter how big the mistake is, by owning it and admitting it, your team can come to your side and work with you to fix that mistake. When you cover it up, it only gets worse. When you admit it openly and say, “Let’s work on it together.” Then you can build up that trust and vulnerability within your team.

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