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What to Expect When Leaders Make Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, including good leaders. The difference between immature and mature leaders is how they handle mistakes. Immature leaders may ignore them or become overly responsible for them. Mature leaders see them as learning opportunities. Leadership coaching helps leaders develop maturity and mistake-handling strategies.
We all make mistakes, and leaders are no exception. Those who take action make mistakes, whether they’re leaders or employees. Leadership mistakes may seem more overbearing because the stakes are higher for leaders. People depend on leaders, and their mistakes can affect the lives of many.
“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” – Sophia Loren.
Still, leaders can’t afford to sit on the sidelines, so they continue making mistakes and dealing with them in the best ways they can.
There is no progress without mistakes.
The adage says you should only do three things with your mistakes: admit them, learn from them, and avoid repeating them. The intricacies and demands of leadership often prompt leaders to forego this approach. Leadership coaching can help them identify optimal ways of handling their mistakes.
The Pitfalls of Leadership Mistakes
Due to the higher stakes and the disproportionate impact of their mistakes, leaders react differently to making them depending on their level of maturity. Executive coaching considers leadership maturity a vital leadership competency for a reason. Mature leaders understand mistakes are learning opportunities and are more inclined to treat them as such.
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde.
Less mature leaders, on the other hand, may feel the guilt, shame, and regret or that their mistakes are overwhelming. While trying to cope with the emotional fallout, they may derail.
Avoidance is a classic derailing behavior when dealing with mistakes in the context of immature leadership. Some leaders may sweep mistakes and their consequences under the rug by impulse.
Such leadership behaviors are as natural as they are counterproductive. Executive coaching understands, however, that not addressing mistakes feeds the guilt and shame we feel over them.
Employees understand the mistakes leaders make. When they see leaders attempting to hide mistakes, they lose trust and develop contempt.
Being Overly Responsible
Leaders who understand the significance of assuming responsibility for mistakes can develop tendencies to go overboard. Being overly responsible for mistakes is as counterproductive as attempting to hide them.
Leaders who feel they’ve overstepped and hurt employees through rough feedback may try to overcompensate by becoming nicer.
Making amends by avoiding difficult discussions is a recipe for sabotaging one’s growth. The lack of honest and sometimes blunt feedback doesn’t do favors to any employee.
How Leadership Coaching Can Help
Executive coaching can help leaders develop effective strategies for handling failures optimally. Through these strategies, leaders can improve their maturity and resilience.
The first step to dealing with mistakes is to acknowledge and accept their existence. By assuming responsibility for their mistakes, leaders prove themselves trustworthy, credible, and reality-rooted in the eyes of their followers. By assuming responsibility for mistakes, leaders defeat shame and guilt, allowing the healing process to commence.
Communicating Openly with the Team
Employees know when their leaders make mistakes, even if they don’t understand the implications. By communicating openly with their teams about mistakes, leaders facilitate transparency, build trust, and empower people, thus sharing the burdens of their mistakes with them.
Open communication is the key to trust.
Learning from Mistakes
Mistakes carry learning opportunities. Mature leaders spot the silver lining in mistakes. By acknowledging them, they reflect on how and what they can learn from them.
Leadership coaching zeroes in on developing leadership maturity. Learning from mistakes is the hallmark of a mature leader.
Taking Relevant and Proportioned Action
Addressing the issue at the core of the mistake is the duty of every intelligent leader. Action may take the form of apologies or concrete measures that help avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Only immature leaders dwell on mistakes, deepening the emotional wounds they inflicted. Intelligent leaders know having acknowledged a mistake, addressed its causes, issued apologies to the slighted parties, and drawn their lessons, they’ve handled the failure, and it’s time to move on.
Business coaching can help leaders deal with mistakes by providing objective perspectives. Business coaching specialists can help leaders redefine goals and plans in the wake of mistakes.