Mistake – We All Make One or Two

But do we learn from them

An over exposed truck when I was just starting out in photography. Even mistakes can look good
I remember the T-Shirt I got on a family vacation.  You know the ones back in the 80’s, glitter and rainbow decals. These famous words were transcribed on front:

I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong.

Over the years, I used this saying whenever I did make a mistake as a way to brush it off.  It was my way of reconciling with incorrectness on my part.  We all make mistakes, how we handle them makes all the difference.  Here are ways I believe great leaders handle mistakes:

Admission

First lets start with what not to do.  When one has made a mistake they should confess them (Proverbs 28:13).  If you hide your mistakes, someone will find them out.  I look at todays political figures and am in awe of how one might make a statement that is misleading, but won’t clarify it because people might call him/her a “flip-flop”.  I will follow the leader who is not afraid to admit they made a mistake, but more importantly, that works to reconcile to resolve it. They also take the responsibility for the mistake, even if it was one of the subordinates.  This is full accountability.

Appropriate Corrective Action

Great leaders recognize when mistakes are made.  The smart ones take appropriate corrective action.  They assess the damage, correct the course, and put in measures to reduce the chance of that mistake happening again.  Jesus provides wisdom in Revelations 3:19 stating that those he loves, he reproves and disciplines.  Do you love your employees, family, or children enough to reprove and discipline when they make mistakes.  More importantly, do you have someone to hold you accountable when you make mistakes.  If not start with Jesus and get some corrective action.

Learn, Learn, Learn

Not enough can be said about learning from your mistakes.  However, leaders also learn from others.  I have found it particularly interesting that most leaders think the best habit you can develop is reading.  Countless leaders suggest biographies and history as great ways to learn from others mistakes.  When you are at work don’t you avoid mistakes others have made.  Don’t you benefit by learning about the issues that arise?  My challenge to you:  Share your mistakes so others can learn also.

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