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Leadership Learning Moments: Recovering

April 20, 2015

Leadership Learning Moments is a three part blog series that walks leaders through the process of making mistakes (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

Recover: Figure out what’s next.

Knowing how to recover from mistakes means the difference between regaining people’s trust and losing their respect – or even your job. Recovery is for your team and your organization. You want to find solutions that don’t leave the clean up to anyone else. Help bring people together by steering the energy back to a positive position.

  • Seek wisdom: Ask for assistance or get a mentor.
  • Restore trust: Do whatever you can to stop further damages from occurring. If there are financial issues involved, try to recover as much as you can. If there is collateral damage with relationships, apologize quickly and try to restore trust. A humble, yet not martyred, and confident response is usually best in these situations.
  • Commit to change: Move on and put the learning moment behind you. You want to collaborate and plan for the future. Share and practice the plan. Follow-through goes a long way.

Progress won’t be a straight line, but if you keep learning, you will have more successes than failures, and the learning moments that you have created along the way will help you get to where you want to go.

Remember, the way you respond after a mistake always determines the quality of recovery.

“Mistakes are not a problem. Not learning from them is.” – Anonymous


Nycci Jones, Learning and Development Consultant, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Nycci Jones, Learning and Development Consultant, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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