If you think you are exempt from mistakes, you are mistaken and you need to move away from that thought. So many times when I work with leaders, they beat themselves up for the mistakes they make. Many times young leaders struggle to move forward when they make a mistake. But you must remember that leaders make mistakes too! Whether you are a seasoned leader or a novice, you will make mistakes as you attempt to lead people and processes!
Again, you will make mistakes. Prepare for making mistakes. Have a strategy to help move yourself from focusing on the mistake to looking at moving forward. Keep in mind that you might not be able to fix all of your mistakes. The ones that are repairable, fix them. The ones that are not, learn from them and keep moving forward. Don’t get stuck in your mistakes and don’t let others hold you hostage to your mistakes.
- Acknowledge your mistakes
- Assess your mistakes and how you got there
- Assess the lessons, and LEARN from the mistake(s)
Here are a few mistakes that leaders make that you can actually work through with time as you grow as a leader:
1. Failure to Clarify Expectations – I believe this is the number one mistake that leaders make. They fail to clarify expectations with people. As a result misunderstandings happen, frustration with people because of incomplete or incorrect work product, confusion about who does what by when…leaving people pointing fingers and confusion about accountability. Solution: Ensure you take the time to clarify expectations with anyone on your team or project. Clarify roles and deadlines. And then follow-up. Lastly hold people accountable to expectations that are clear.
2. Failure to Understand What Moves or Motivates People – Many times leaders misunderstand what drives the people working for or with them. Solution: It is critical for you as a leader to get to know your people. What moves them and motivates them? What are their strengths and growth opportunities? What frustrates them? What is happening in their life that might affect what is happening in your organization or with your project? You have to know the answer to these and other questions or you will frustrate your people and may be the cause of frustration and breakdowns in communication.
For Novices & Seasoned Leaders: Learn from the mistakes you make. Take responsibility for them and don’t blame others. Take ownership and be transparent about your mistakes. Look at the mistakes as teachable moments, and in the due season of your life, opportunities will come up for you to retake the test and demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes.
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton