How Great Leaders Deal With Mistakes

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / January 24, 2022
Being human implies making mistakes. The difference between great and decent leaders is how they handle their own errors and then move on.

Being human implies making mistakes. The difference between great and decent leaders is how they handle their own errors and then move on.

Leadership entails making errors. It’s not whether you make mistakes that matters as a leader. You’ll inevitably make mistakes because authentic leadership involves risk. It’s about admitting your errors and handling them with honesty, integrity, and grace.

Sure, some errors will be minor hiccups along the route to success. Others will be big, affecting key corporate goals, profitability, or relationships. It’s how you handle big mistakes that determines whether you’re a leader or a manager.

It’s easy to believe excellent leaders are wonderful because they make few errors. Even with startups. However, contrary to popular belief, great leaders make errors. It’s their resiliency that makes them amazing.

That’s wonderful news for us all. Unbelievably, there is usually a technique to approach it that will improve respect for you. It’s part of the job to make calls even when you don’t have all the information you need. Great leaders learn from their errors. Great leaders have perfected managing errors, and we could all learn a lot from them.

Managing people? Here are some pointers on how to manage blunders and some practical suggestions for leaders who make mistakes. It’s up to you to manage your faults properly. Ready?

1. Own your mistake!

Few things are more embarrassing for a leader than admitting a mistake. It’s inconvenient. We all do it. It’s easy to ignore it but now is the opportunity to display your character honestly. When a leader makes a mistake, they should first admit it.

Great leaders are the first to confess when something is wrong. And not with an obscure media post or a vague tweet. They don’t attempt to hide it, blame others, or check if anybody notices. Accept responsibility for events you did not cause.

Leaders who can admit to faults, flaws, and issues establish trust and influence among their followers. If you are willing to accept your faults, your team or subordinates will be more inclined to do so as well. Leaders who own their faults lead by example. By removing the fear of making the incorrect choice, leaders enable people to take greater initiative, understanding they won’t always have the perfect answer. They are faced with danger and possible difficulties and gladly accept responsibility, confess to failure, and learn from the experience.

Be tenacious, someone said. Things will change and go wrong. It’s a mess. As a leader, you set the tone for handling errors.

Team members complain when a leader keeps them responsible but ignores or refuses to own up to their faults. Remember that anything you say or do becomes a reality with your staff, so own it and own up to it. A heartfelt apology may improve team interactions and build confidence.

2. Admit it honestly.

Notifying coworkers might be stressful, but it’s like removing a Band-Aid. Just get it done.

You may think admitting a major oversight will erode trust in your leadership, but it will boost it, especially if you follow the other suggestions in this post. Likewise, people don’t expect perfection from their leaders, just undivided attention and aggressive action. Additionally, leaders who are honest about their flaws and learn from their mistakes earn respect and foster a transparent environment.

In addition, others will not take calculated risks because they are afraid of making the wrong decision and having to face the consequences. Real leadership, not afraid to shift the topic and question the established quo, earns respect. Leaders who own up to their errors and learn from them gain respect and foster openness.

It’s a myth that being incorrect makes you seem inadequate. Sadly, some are overly concerned with how others will perceive them. Similarly, insecure leaders may fear being seen as weak, yet not acknowledging their error makes them appear worse. We also forget that leadership requires a feeling of vulnerability. Being open about your faults not only gains respect from the people you lead but also humanizes them.

Acknowledging and admitting one’s own mistakes builds respect from others and helps them overcome their fears. Someone stated that errors are unavoidable. The reaction to mistake matters. Leaders must be as explicit as possible while sharing their blunders with coworkers and team members. You can’t claim it until you name it.

Owning a mistake is admitting a particular judgment, choice, or action fault. A name implies analysis, progress — and humility. As a result, fear not as you process the situation and communicate as transparently as possible. Team members will appreciate the honesty and become more loyal to their boss.

3. Mistakes require your acceptance.

OK, so you blew it. As a result, you must apologize.

Maybe you provided your employee with the incorrect lead, and he made a mistake. However, it started with something you did. In that case, the manager should openly accept the responsibility from superiors and peers. Your employee will respect your leadership qualities if you don’t blame him, even if you could’ve done so.

Above all, can you as a leader admit your mistakes, own them, and learn from them? It takes a lot of humility to admit, “I screwed up, and I’ll do better next time.”

So, what type of culture are you aiming to build? Are you ready to own your mistakes, face people in the eye, and apologize as a leader? As a result, you may foster a culture of risk-taking, innovation, learning, and growth.

4. Don’t undervalue how great leaders dealt with huge mistakes.

Things are usually worse than you imagine. Don’t underestimate or dismiss an issue. Clearly express the problem’s gravity. If you must exaggerate or understate an issue, overdo it.

Being a successful leader doesn’t imply you’re problem-free. Sadly, many young leaders choose to avoid difficult issues. Instead, it implies you can successfully tackle issues as they emerge. Unforgiving people seldom explored new things. Their mindset diminishes the necessity of addressing errors.

It’s a fact that issues will arise and must be addressed. Unresolved issues will only worsen over time. Leaders who successfully confront issues realize it’s better to handle them soon. The inability to be straightforward leads nowhere.

Many individuals are so eager to be liked or are frightened of offending others that they find it difficult to criticize. They may be hesitant to inform someone they are underperforming. Sadly, ignoring these issues exacerbates them, making them more difficult to treat. It’s critical to understand when and how to exert firmness.

5. Fix it!

Solutions help move an issue forward. A smart solution shifts the attention from a “mistake in the air” to one of progress and forward motion.

The finest leaders are ready to own their mistakes and show their people how to correct them. They dive deep to help solve the problem. Cosmetic work that covers the issue does not solve it. Real solutions go beyond veneer touch-ups. Understanding what went wrong and distinguishing between system failure and human mistakes is critical.

Mistakes typically signal a larger issue that needs to be addressed. Two examples are changing a deadline without informing the team or transposing a figure in a balance sheet. Leaders may design a method to prevent future mistakes after they understand why the error occurred.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.