C-Suite Network™

Admitting to Mistakes Leads to Greater Productivity

Be a Leader Who Can Admit Mistakes 

We all make mistakes. When someone makes a mistake, the ego can prevent him from admitting that. All leaders make mistakes as well. Making mistakes is a part of a leadership journey. It’s easy to call someone else out when they make a mistake at work. It’s not always as simple to admit to your team or yourself when you are the one at fault.

One of the most powerful opportunities for any leader in building trust is to admit mistakes publicly. The source of that power is that it is so rare for leaders to stand up in front of a group and say something like this: “I called you here today to admit that I made a serious blunder yesterday. It was not intentional, as I will explain.”  – Bob Whipple, MBA, CPLP

When mistakes or errors occur how do you handle it. There is a school of thought that leaders should not admit when they have made mistakes, presumably because there is a belief that by doing so, they lose credibility and power.

Dwelling upon mistakes will diminish your self-confidence and your creative self-expression.

When you dwell on mistakes you trigger the habits of procrastination and perfectionism, as well as a plethora of emotions such as anger, stress, worry, fear, and frustration.

You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As soon as you start blaming other people you distance yourself from any possible lesson.

Blaming Someone Else

By blaming others for your mistakes doesn’t help you learn from them. It also gives the other people a negative reputation. Blaming always starts with: “You…”, “They…”, “If only…”.  It only starts with an “I” statement when the “I” is followed with a “but…” , as in “Yes, I… but they…” (Paul White)

Obviously, a leader who makes many mistakes on an almost daily basis has a serious problem but it has little to do with admitting mistakes, and everything to do with their competence levels and judgment.

The reality is that leaders should be able to admit their mistakes to their followers. In fact, this increases trust and loyalty by making the leader a human being in the eyes of followers. More importantly, by admitting mistakes, employees learn that you are serious about being honest, open, responsible and accountable, and this is fundamental to creating trust and loyalty.

In the long run, employees who listen to their leaders admit their mistakes and accept them will be in a more relaxed position to admit to their own mistakes and errors. With this in mind, these employees will be more open to performing better in their jobs.

By Not Admitting Mistakes or Errors

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

People’s inability to admit mistakes is sometimes born out of a defensive measure brought about by anxiety. Because of fear, some people will always be inclined to seek a haven in deception, to preserve their ego.

Shift Your Perspective About Mistakes

Most likely as a child when you made mistakes, you either hid them or were embarrassed by making them. This was a conditioned response because of the consequences that went with them.

Respected leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo and take bold initiatives.

Resilience is something that will help you to keep pushing forward despite the obstacles and setbacks in your way. The more mistakes you make, the more resilient you become.

Start a Journal

Start documenting all of your mistakes. Keep track of where these are happening: at work.

Keep a detailed account of what happened so you can start to see patterns in where you’re making mistakes and which ones you’re repeating too often.

Admitting a mistake helps both businesses and individuals to learn and grow. This is because by admitting the mistake isolates the problem and allows leaders to pool resources so that they can set about resolving the issue.

“Admitting and correcting mistakes does not make you look weak; it actually makes you look stronger.” –Bruce Rhoades

According to research, admitting to mistakes leads to higher productivity whether you are the leader of an organization or you are an employee.

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