Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Own Your Mistakes

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. In fact, if I listed them all out, I’d probably be embarrassed by the sheer magnitude of the final tally. However those mistakes also helped me grow and learn. Often once I’ve made a mistake, I find a way to train myself to not make that mistake over and over. Easy with computers, harder in other areas, but still possible if you make an effort.

I linked to a list of leadership tips recently, and #6 on the list is to embrace your slip-ups. Own your mistake and don’t blame others. Apologize, correct the issue, and learn from it. I’ve seen this same advice for coaches and teachers, and I’m sure I could find examples from most other professions. Learning from failure is an innate part of humanity, and one you should accept.

I’ve coached sports, I’ve managed people. I never expect them to be perfect, and while I don’t want mistakes repeated over and over, I also need to accept a certain number of them. Part of me learning to do that better was learning to own my own mistakes, acknowledging them, and apologizing.

It’s not easy. I struggle to say I’m sorry, but between being married for decades and having multiple children, as well as various employees reporting to me, I’ve learned to be better. I try to accept others’ mistakes, as well as my own, and get better.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. There are punishments, payments, losses as a result of mistakes. However bear them with dignity and the resolve to reduce them the next time.