“Mistakes are forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee.
Catching up with the president of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce in Michigan as I often do, we got into a conversation about how difficult it is for people these days to admit they made a mistake.
I’ve been seeing this a lot in coaching lately where leaders are losing talented team members because they are not confident in their leadership to admit they are wrong or made a bad decision.
Wearing my reporter hat, my ears have been trained to pick up quotable quotes and Dan blurted out a great one during our conversation.
“People view a mistake as a fatal error instead of a step and process,” said Dan West, president, and CEO of Livonia Chamber of Commerce. “We are flawed, and we know our life will end one day, but we try to deny both of them.”
That state of denial can be deadly for your career. I coached an executive who was losing talented team members at a rapid rate and all because he always had to be right and when he was wrong, he quickly pointed the finger at someone else and wondered why a finger-pointing culture was created within the organization.
Mistakes happen. We are all human. We all make them. So, why is it so difficult for so many people to admit them and take responsibility for them?
They fail to realize, it’s about the journey. It’s about the process – what Dan so appropriately pointed out. It’s about listening to your team and learning to do a better job.
Just because you made a mistake, or a bad decision doesn’t mean you are not valued or can’t lead.
Leaders not only listen to learn, but they admit mistakes, they create strategies to fix them, and they make note of them, so they don’t happen again. There is great value in admitting when you’re wrong.
Here are 8 Benefits to Admitting You Made a Mistake:
1. It Enhances Trust and Credibility: Leaders who admit their mistakes are generally perceived as more trustworthy and credible. When leaders acknowledge their errors, it signals transparency and authenticity, which in turn fosters trust among team members and stakeholders.
2. It Improves Team Morale: When leaders admit mistakes, it creates an open and non-blame culture. Team members feel safer admitting their own errors, which can lead to a more collaborative and positive work environment. It can also reduce stress levels within the team.
3. It Increases Learning and Growth: Admitting mistakes allows leaders to learn from them. This willingness to learn and grow can lead to better decision-making in the future. It also sets a positive example for the team, encouraging a culture of continuous improvement.
4. It Builds Stronger Relationships: Leaders who admit mistakes are often better at building and maintaining strong relationships with their team members. People are more likely to respect and connect with leaders who are humble and vulnerable.
5. It Resolves Problems: Acknowledging mistakes can be the first step toward finding solutions. Leaders who take responsibility for their errors are more likely to actively work on rectifying them, which can lead to quicker problem resolution.
6. It Reduces Conflicts: By admitting mistakes, leaders can diffuse conflicts and prevent them from escalating. When leaders own up to their errors, it can de-escalate tensions and promote constructive dialogue.
7. It Improves Decision-Making: Leaders who admit mistakes are less likely to repeat them. This can lead to better decision-making in the long run as they become more aware of potential pitfalls and errors.
8. It Enhances Leadership Effectiveness: Overall, leaders who acknowledge their mistakes are often seen as more effective leaders. Their humility and willingness to take responsibility make them better equipped to handle challenges and inspire their teams.
It’s important to note that the impact of admitting mistakes can vary depending on how and when it is done. It’s about authenticity and sincerity. A timely admission of mistakes that come from the heart is more likely to yield positive results compared to a begrudging or delayed acknowledgment.
Additionally, leaders should also take steps to rectify the mistakes and prevent their recurrence for the full benefits to be realized.
If you want to lead, learn to communicate like a leader!
Vanessa Denha Garmo is a Communications Strategist, Evangelist, Christian Coach, and host of It’s Your Community on WJR 760 AM, 96.3 FM, and 93.1 FM Epiphany on Ave Maria Radio. She has a master’s degree in communications and is the founder of Epiphany Communications: Coaching and Consulting. www.epiphanycommunications.com. Follow her on X, Instagram, LinkedIn and Epiphany Communications on Facebook.