Making mistakes is a given for any forward thinking leader. The productive question to ask is, “How do I make a great mistake?” In other words, how do I leverage mistakes to grow into a better person and leader?
Here are 4 ways to make your next mistake count…
1) Admit it. There is no learning if we aren’t willing to humble ourselves and own our poor decisions and/or execution. And, the sooner the better. Maybe it was the right thing, done the right way but at the wrong time? It doesn’t matter. Don’t add insult to injury. Admit it and you are on your way to growing through it.
2) Share it. Process your mistake with those you lead. Besides, if you were leading well, you weren’t in it alone. Turn this into a teachable moment for all as you talk freely about how things got sideways. This will go a long way towards creating an environment of not only trust, but of courage and creativity as your team is given permission to fail. Then, share in not only the lesson learned, but in cleaning up the mess you made.
3) Record it. This key life and leadership habit is often overlooked. Besides, we are certain not to repeat the same mistake twice, aren’t we? Whether you journal it, blog about it, or keep a list of your faux pas, put it in writing and it will serve to imprint the experience on a deeper, DNA level.
4) Apply it. It likely won’t be long until you have opportunity to apply the lesson you learned. This time around, draw from your archive of experience, communicate with your team, and make a different choice and take a different path.
One more thought… don’t make the mistake of living and leading trying not to make mistakes. Accept them as part of the process of moving forward while leading with clear vision and bold faith. Make your next mistake a great one!
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken a hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…” (Philippians 3:12-13)