The World’s #1 Executive Coaching and Business Coaching Blog (2017-2021)
5 Best Ways for Leaders to Fix Mistakes
Strong, intelligent leaders demonstrate genuine leadership authority by owning up to their mistakes and focusing on solutions instead of dealing with the political aspects of their mistakes.
Business coaching understands the importance of placing organizational interests above petty personal agendas. Strong leaders don’t hesitate to assume ownership of problems they haven’t caused, and they inspire followers by focusing on solutions.
“An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”-Orlando A. Battista.
Leaders, like anyone else, make mistakes. What sets effective, mature leaders apart from their immature, derailing peers is how they deal with mistakes. Leadership coaching understands the role leadership maturity has in how leaders approach mistakes.
We all make mistakes. We don’t all handle them well, however.
Mature leaders aren’t afraid to show vulnerability by admitting mistakes. They’re savvy enough to profit from them while being strong enough to correct them.
Immature leaders may consider owning up to mistakes a sign of weakness. Wanting to appear infallible and all-knowing, leaders can’t handle the embarrassment of admitting failures, and they end up compounding their mistakes.
Leadership coaching sees mistakes as opportunities. Executive coaching specialists can help clients profit from mistakes by adopting mature attitudes.
Identifying and admitting mistakes and ensuring they don’t happen again can strengthen relationships within organizations and with clients. Such approaches to mistakes exudes positive, professional attitudes that build trust.
Here’s how executive coaching can help leaders deal with mistakes constructively:
1. Focusing on Open, Healthy Communication
As part of the paradigm of industrial-age leadership, one could often hear the mantra, “Don’t come to your leader with problems. Come with solutions.” As much of what this leadership paradigm preaches, this approach is outdated and counterproductive as it discourages open communication.
Such attitudes pressure team members into concealing mistakes and sweeping them under the proverbial rug.
Executive coaching helps leaders create teams of effective problem solvers instead of experts in camouflaging problems. Open communication can ensure team members own up to mistakes and focus on correcting them instead of playing childish games that involve passing the blame.
2. A Culture of Transparency
A transparent attitude toward mistakes and problem-solving must be ingrained in company culture.
When a mature, effective leader discovers a problem, the first reaction is to contain it. To achieve that, the leader must communicate and share information with others in the organization, possibly with outside clients. Once the problem is contained, attention is turned to solving the problem head-on. This involves every stakeholder at every organizational level.
The objective is to eliminate the mistake and its repercussions. By involving all stakeholders in the problem-solving process, leaders open themselves to quick and effective solutions they may not have considered themselves.
3. Avoiding the Trivialization of the Problem
To deal with a problem or mistake effectively, one must know and understand its true extent and implications. By downplaying the seriousness of a mistake, leaders allow some of its aspects to fester and poison their organizations.
Making a mistake is never as embarrassing as having to come back later and admit that you tried to conceal its extent due to a misplaced sense of leadership superiority.
From the perspective of leadership coaching, it’s always better (and more desirable) to overstate the extent of a problem rather than understate it.
4. Being the First to Acknowledge the Mistake
Leaders must acknowledge mistakes as soon as they discover them. Doing so may communicate vulnerability towards followers and even feel embarrassing. However, intelligent leaders understand that instead of making them appear less effective in the eyes of others, such vulnerability makes them more trustworthy and human.
Strong leaders assume responsibility and ownership.
5. Assuming Ownership of the Problem
Solid, trustworthy, effective, and mature leaders don’t pass blame and run from problems. They assume responsibility and ownership of mistakes even if they didn’t cause them. Their primary concern is solving the problem and not saving face.
Strong, effective leaders demonstrate authority by owning and explaining problems and doing their best to solve them. They don’t allow the awkwardness and perceived shame that accompany mistakes to interfere with their authority. Business coaching sees such leaders as strong stewards of their organizations that are fully committed to their effective scaling and future success.