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Leadership Learning Moments: Admitting Mistakes

November 6, 2014

Leadership Learning Moments is going to be a three part blog series that walks leaders through the process of making a mistake (or as I like to call them, learning moments) with confidence.

As a leader, you will make mistakes – sometimes more often than you would like to admit. It’s part of being human and being a leader. Seldom when you are asked about a leadership characteristic or to define what leadership means to you does the word “mistake” come up. Why, as leaders, are we not being taught how to confront making mistakes and how to work through the process? So when you have made a mistake, what do you do next? This three-step technique will help you through the mistake-making process.

  1. Admit
  2. Learn
  3. Recover

This article will speak directly to the admittance step. Upcoming articles in this series will cover learning and recovering.

Admit: Admittance is the first step. 

It takes a certain level of bravery, confidence, and self-discovery to do the first step: admit your mistake. In the admittance process, you want to stay away from covering up the mistake by making excuses. Here are some key aspects of admittance:

  • Take ownership: Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t blame others. You want to take ownership of the learning moment and admit that it happened.
  • Communicate quickly: You don’t have to tell the world, but those who need to know should hear it from you and not from anyone else.
  • Be timely: You want to be timely in your delivery and be honest and transparent. Ask for forgiveness if necessary.
  • Be accountable: Be accountable and willing to accept the consequences. You’ll be far more respected and stand a better chance of gaining the support of others during the recovery process.

“To admit that you were wrong is to declare that you are wiser now than you were before.” – Zero Dean

 

Nycci Jones, Learning Engineer, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Nycci Jones, Learning Engineer, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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